Put my name down for an overnight Maori stay for $200 so you could tell what the reaction was in a bus full of backpackers. Was really good, it won its’ fair share of awards that they ended up giving it a special award so other attractions had a chance of winning the original! It has since been voted top 10 experience in the world.

22 of us signed up to it and the kiwi experience are the only people allowed to do the overnight stay. So at night for the dinner another 100-150 people would be joining for the show and food.



The Tamaki Maori Village stay


On arrival we had to elect a leader from our group who would introduce us to the leader of the tribe. Tommy was selected as the senior member of the bus and had a hard time of it from the leader, so the rest of us were in stitches.

The entire day was planned with activities which were brilliant fun and again a good way to get to know everyone from the bus. We played a few Maori games and taught us a song, like their own alphabet song. It all started of fairly lighthearted until they told us at dinner it would have to be performed in front of 150 odd people so we had to get it right, the words were not easy!

One of the games involved 10 people standing in a circle each holding a stick. Then everyone throws it to their person to the right but having to catch the stick being thrown to you with the same hand. This is done 3 times and at the end you must throw your stick to the person 2 places to your right. There was a few sore heads and plenty of laughs but in the end we got it.


  • Whale sharks are ……
  • Thailand is known for …..
  • Scuba diving originated from…..


For the evening experience we were joined by the other 150 attendees who weren’t staying overnight. Everyone gathered at the entrance where traditional Maori men arrived by boat. Each bus that arrived for dinner had a chief selected and they all had to maintain a straight face while standing in front of the Maori tribes.

The Tamaki Maori Village stay

They done the most ridiculous dance, which was a mix between a traditional Maori Dance and trying to test the chiefs into making them laugh. A fern would then be placed in front of 1 of them to pick up but they had to show respect by continuing to keep a straight face otherwise face their throat being cut (this was added for effect obviously). No one else had this responsibility so the rest of us were laughing our heads off, making it even more difficult.

The Tamaki Maori Village stay


Like before our chief had a problem keeping a straight face and half way through the ceremony had to be told by the host. After this everyone was spilt into smaller groups and given a tour of various different activities and showcases; such as how they made their clothes, art, games and haka.

I was called up to the haka with a few others which was fun having noticed it since I was a kid watching the rugby. The guy at this hut was funny, he asked everyone where they were from knew how to greet them in their language. After telling him I was Irish he replied “top of the morning!”


Everyone stays for the dinner then the overnighters (us) performed the song but not sure I have any videos of it. After the boys were called up to perform the haka which was brilliant. The good thing about the song and haka, most people in the audience have no idea how it’s done so as long as you look confident and as if you know what you are doing it’ll pass.

At the end of the night everyone left and the 22 of us which were staying jumped into the hot tubs with a few beers before bed, what a way to finish an incredible experience.



What a great experience and I could see why it won so many awards. I would go as far as saying its probably the best experience from the Kiwi experience and considering the $200 cost it was value for money!


Off to cook eggs at the geysers and play golf tomorrow at Lake Taupo . Click to read.


This post is part of The New Zealand and Fiji Series, click to explore.

Question Time

  • Have you ever done a traditional Maori stay?
  • Did you enjoy it?

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