A dozen monumental Maori carvings known as the Te Heketanga-a-Rangi (Heavenly Origins) greet you at the entrance to Te Puia,he New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.
When you arrive, choose the raw ingredients for your lunchbox and set off on your 2.5-hour guided tour of the grounds. While you’re checking out traditional artwork, your lunch is prepared on steam vents using an ancient Maori method. The Maori people have cooked using the naturally occurring steam and hot water within Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley for hundreds of years, and still do today.
Your 2.5-hour guided tour reveals the legends behind the arrival of the Maori in Rotorua, and explores Maori customs and traditions via interactive galleries at the Te Whare Tapere meeting house.
Enjoy visits to the national carving and weaving schools, where these prestigious crafts are taught by masters of the arts. See carving and flax-weaving demonstrations, and stop by the Kiwi House to spot New Zealand's national native bird. The enclosure is specially lit to help you spot this notoriously elusive nocturnal bird.
Your tour also takes you to the bubbling mud pools and steaming hot springs of this amazing geothermal region, where the 100-foot (30-meter) Pohutu Geyser erupts up to 20 times a day.
Stop at the terrace overlooking the Pohutu Geyser to watch your lunch carefully emerge from the Nga Wha steam vent that uses natural geothermal heat to cook your meal.
Relax on the terrace and enjoy your traditionally cooked steambox meal for the ultimate taste of Maori culture!