Published: July 19th 2012July 16th 2012
The trip to the Tamaki Māori Village began with a short walk from our hostel to the Tamaki pick-up base on Hinemaru Street. In the building we changed our vouchers into tickets. Every ticket showed your name, the name of the bus you had to take, the driver’s name and the table number on which you have to sit for the later Hangi meal. We were a bit too early at the base, so we sat down to read through the info sheets. They were provided in different languages like English, French, Japanese, Arabic, German, Swedish, etc. Furthermore they explained the history of Tamaki’s foundation and what would happen during the evening.
The bus driver
welcomed his guests in the most different languages from all over the world. With further All Blacks jokes and funny comments about rugby, the 30 minute drive didn’t get boring. The seats were also comfortable and the driver was good to understand because the bus was wired up for sound. Every bus represented a tribe; therefore we had to announce a chief
of our bus tribe during the drive to the Māori village. The election was a bit difficult because the bus driver wanted a
male, handsome, tall, strong chief, who is also playing rugby. Unfortunately none of the passengers played rugby, so therefore the bus driver had to reduce the requirements. Finally we had a voluntary Dutch man who was at least following rugby on the TV.
Arriving at the Tamaki village the Māori warriors performed a welcome ceremony
and simulated a situation when 2 tribes met each other. The place where this took place was a round place with stairs of different heights for the visitors. Therefore the performance was visible for everybody. After this, the Māori village
followed. With the typical Māori houses and small campfires in front of them the village got a tense and unique ambience. Every house depicted a station and revealed information about typical Māori habits and customs. For instance special dances like the Haka, different games and the carving art was explained. Due to typical costumes and tattoos worn by the guides, the Māori village became great trough authenticity and persuasiveness. The guests could also ask every question they had about their culture. At nearly all of the stations the visitors were actively involved, this was entertaining and fun for all visitors.
On the way
to the concert the Hangi meal was revealed and explained to the visitors. The concert
took place in a Māori meeting house. The performers showed different types of traditional dances like for example the Haka. Also one love song were performed which had the love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai as subject. However the retelling of the story was a bit short, but the song was beautiful. After the concert a short and interesting movie about the historical development of the Māori culture was shown.
Next we went all to the big dining room were a delicious Hangi meal
were waiting for us. Two Buffet tables were full of chicken, lamb, potatoes, kumaras, salads, fish, mussels etc. For vegetarian guests the staff also provided Chinese spring rolls. The buffet was replenished all the time as soon as it tended to get empty. Moreover the diner was accompanied by live music with guitar and singing, which was really nice. After a while the main buffet was replaced by a desert buffet, which consisted of warm chocolate bread, peaches, warm vanilla sauce, cream and a really good Pavalova. The diner was all in all very good and delicious with a nice atmosphere due to the live music. For the guests there was a small bar for wine, beer, etc. and on every table there were bottles of water. Moreover Douglas Tamaki, one of the founders of Tamaki, introduced himself personally to the guests with a little speech. As a highlight of the diner the 3 chiefs of our buses had to perform a Haka with the guides, which was funny and entertaining.
The bus ride back
home was as refreshing and funny as the way to the Māori village. Nearly every passenger could/had to sing his or her national hymn. If somebody didn’t want to sing, the driver drove ten times or more the roundabout. Finally every passenger got dropped off safely at his/her accommodation.
All in all it was a very good cultural experience with delicious food and the staff was friendly and helpful all the time and they could answer every question. You can also find every information about Tamaki on their following homepage: http://www.maoriculture.co.nz/