The ultimate immersive cultural experience for groups, spending the night in a Marae offers a deep and meaningful insight into Māori traditions, customs and ways of life. Our overnight Marae Stay package requires a minimum of 10 people and is tailored to your group’s requirements and interests.
Our Marae Stay is an all-inclusive overnight experience. This includes a private welcome, tailored program, evening performing arts experience, all meals and linen, a host from our whanau for the duration of your stay and full entry into Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village.
Physically, a Marae is made up of three sacred structures: the Marae, which is the sacred courtyard in front of the meetinghouse; the Meeting House itself, adorned with carvings that represent the tribe and their heritage, and the Whare Kai, which is the eating house or area. Marae are places of refuge for Māori, and is the place where cultural values, philosophy and traditional ways of life are re-affirmed.
Our group overnight Marae stay itineraries usually include a private guided tour of the village, insights around marae protocols and customs. Accommodation is provided within the sacred ancestral meeting house, the focal point of the Māori community. In the evening there is a performing arts experience after dinner and the evening is completed with stories, legends and reflection time.
In the morning, guests are introduced to Māori arts and crafts and have the opportunity to create their own woven treasure. For this experience, you are hosted by one of our whānau (family).
Your group’s Marae stay is tailored to you – we closely collaborate with you to craft an experience that’s perfect for your needs, timings and requirements. Here is an example of a sample Marae stay itinerary to get a feel for what your experience might look like.
4:00pm – Welcoming
Arrive at Whakarewarewa and meet your Guide. Participate in the whakatau (welcome). Opportunity to perform our traditional Māori greeting (Hongi), and learn more about the whakatau process.
4.15pm – Protecting our land (guided tour)
Discover why this area is so important to our culture, and see how the local people use the hot pools and steam for daily living – as they have done for centuries. Learn about the native plants that grow within the village, and how Rotorua city utilized our natural resources. Watch corn and eggs being cooked in the natural hot spring and enjoy your egg while sitting on our thermally heated floor.
5.15 – Perpetuating our customs (Marae protocols)
Understand the importance of the Marae, the customs and protocols we follow and the roles of men, women and children.
5.45 – Free time
Freshen up and relax before dinner.
6.00pm – Dinner
Your dinner will be cooked within our natural hot steam and pools – see menu below.
8.00pm – Storytelling & reflection
Hear local myths and legends, and ask your host any questions.
9.00 – Prepare for bed
Free time to relax or shower, then head to bed.
6.45am – Wake up
Tidy up Marae; use this as an opportunity to apply what you learnt the afternoon before. Shower, pack up your bags.
7.30am – Breakfast
Assist with clearing away tables and dishes.
8.30am – Perpetuating our crafts (weaving)
Discover the importance of weaving, and enjoy the opportunity to create your own treasure out of flax and ask our local expert questions.
9.00am – Farewell
Be farewelled by your host, and depart Whakarewarewa.
You’ll enjoy hearty Māori kai (food), cooked using traditional geothermal techniques.
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