The Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao people have a proud heritage which they have shared with visitors from all around the world for over two hundred years. Since the early 1800’s they have been hosting and welcoming visitors into their homes and backyards, demonstrating the utilization of the natural geothermal wanders for cooking and bathing and sharing their geothermal existence continues to fascinate tourists visiting Whakarewarewa today.
The people of Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao have been the trail blazers of the tourism industry in Rotorua and NZ. It is our goal to continue the legacy and to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors.
Our uniqueness we share, our hearts we give and, our environment we protect for
our future generations!
- Whanaungatanga / Hospitality Excellence
- Manaakitanga / Understanding & Compassionate
- Kaitiakitanga / Protector & Guardian
Te Whakarewarewa Valley Separation
In 1963 a Gentlemen’s Agreement between the New Zealand Government and the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao tribal leaders was made for the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) to take over management of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley for an agreed annual fee, which was to be paid to the Rahui Trust.
In 1984 a consortium attempted to take over the whole of Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley and – as quoted – turn it in to a “Disneyland Theme Park”. Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao was outraged and disputes began between the tribe and the NZMACI.
Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao believed the levies paid to the Rahui Trust were not sufficient to maintain the environment with the ever increasing tourist numbers walking through the valley. A proposal by the tribal leaders was requested for a $2.00 charge per ticket in addition to the levies. The NZMACI was not pleased at all, as they believed it to be a breach in the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” of 1963.
In December 1997 the gate between Whakarewarewa Village and the walk way to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute was bolted and two separate entities were born.
On the 1st of January 1998, Whakarewarewa Thermal Village Tours was opened with Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao taking back control of their lives, their village and their surrounding geothermal environment.
To this day, Whakarewarewa Thermal Village Tours continues to operate separately to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute who rebranded in 2005 and became Te Puia.