Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute was established by the New Zealand Parliament to guard and preserve Maori culture, housing the national schools of carving and weaving. Visitors interact with master craftsmen as they turn native hardwood and plant fibers into beautiful pieces of traditional art, spinning stories as they work.
Touring the facilities is interesting, informative and not to be missed, but the highlight is Te Po, Te Puia's authentic evening experience. As evening falls, you'll assemble in a carved meeting space and go on to participate in Maori rituals of friendship and greetting. As the night progresses, you'll feast on traditional cuisine as your guides will share Maori heritage, song and weaponry.
Te Puia is also the staging area for tours of the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, where there are numerous geysers and 3 regularly erupt - Kereru, Tohu and the world famous Pohutu geyser, which erupts around 20 times a day reaching heights of up to 30m (100ft).
In addition to preserving to the Maori culture through performances and demonstrations, Te Puia also preserves New Zealand national culture with the Kiwi House. As its name implies, the Kiwi House is dedicated to helping the little flightless birds in their fight against extinction.