Day Pass to Te Puia Cultural Center & Pohutu Geyser
Tour Participation Requirements
The entrance to Te Puia is guarded by twelve intricately carved "celestial guardians," each representing a divine realm. The first realm is protected by Puhaorangi, whose half-mortal son is the principal ancestor of the Te Arawa people. And so, with this tale of "Heavenly Origins," your journey into the culture and heritage of the Maori begins.
Maori culture is full of legends about the union between gods and mortals. Even the kumara (sweet potato) is believed to have been given to the Maori by Rongo, the god of peace. At the top of each entrance guardian, there's a carved pole showing a different aspects of the Maori universe, such as the constellation that guides them back to their spiritual home, Hawaiki.
The Maori come from a long line of guides and storytellers, and their legends and tales are preserved in songs, dances, and carvings, as you'll see in the magnificently decorated marae, or meeting house and grounds, and pataka, the storehouse for the chief's heirlooms.
The Maori believe that the geysers in the area were a gift from the gods, formed by the goddesses of fire, Te Pupu and Te Hoata, when they sent the fire demons to help their freezing brother. They revere the kiwi because they believe it to be a son of the god of the forest. And they believe there's tremendous importance to the connection between the people and the land.
It's a culture that begins with a divine celestial realm and extends to geothermal forces deep within the Earth.
A nose for food
There are five species of kiwi, all of which are classified as either endangered or vulnerable. Kiwis don't have a tail or wings, but can reach speeds of nearly 20 miles per hour with their powerful legs. Kiwis are highly sensitive to light, so they're nocturnal and only feed at night. But they don't need to see to catch prey; their sense of smell is so acute that they can pinpoint earthworms in the ground more than an inch below the surface.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.