Visitors coming to Whakarewarewa now have the opportunity to experience the geothermal landscape through a new tour.
The guided geothermal eco tours have been a work in progress for the past year and the first tour was held this morning.
The tour aims to provide guests with a closer look and exclusive access to the untouched geothermal area within the village.
Whakarewarewa manahautū general manager Dr Tanya Robinson said it is great to have the eco tours up and running for visitors.
“It is wonderful to be able to provide a tour that has a real focus on the environment within the area and to be able to share that with visitors,” she said.
“We place a high priority on kaitiakitanga of te taiao, so sharing pūrakau and mātauranga about our beautiful environment, is a great way to celebrate this.”
She said it also fits with their kaupapa of giving back.
“100% of profits from the tours return to projects for our people, village and environment.”
The tour consists of a guide taking visitors around by the mud pools, lakes and nature while sharing information about the whenua (land), life forms and plants that thrive in the area.
Whakarewarewa guide Daniel said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of his very first eco tour and to be able to bring together mātauranga Māori kaupapa (Māori knowledge framework).
“To be able to share this knowledge about modern science, spanning earth sciences, ecology, biodiversity, health, environment and climate change with manuhiri is truly a privilege as a kaiarahi (guide),” he said.
He said a highlight for him on the tour was utilising the purerehua (Māori wind instrument) which involves swinging the instrument around to create a whirring noise.
“That helped us connect to our papakainga, mountains and water and also to grant us safe passage through our eco trail.
“Observing Tawhirimatea’s presence in that moment and the tohu of a tui that showed up and flew through at that exact moment I spun the purerehua was truly a spiritually uplifting experience, for myself and our manuhiri.”
The tour lasts between 45 minutes to an hour and up to 20 people can go on a tour at a time.
Book in today through our website where you can find ticketing prices and more information.