2 Day Eco-Cultural Experience

Journey to Ruatahuna at the heart of Te Ika-a-Maui – the Heart of Maui’s Fish – the North Island of New Zealand. We are Tūhoe, the original Maori people if this land, known as ‘Children of the Mist’ for we are born of our mountains cloaked in mist. We are a mountain forest dwelling people, guardians of Te Urewera, a vast rainforest region, one of the most remote and pristine parts of New Zealand.

Nau mai! Haere mai! Welcome to our world! We will share with you our traditions and our authentic way of life in a special mix of experiences of our people, our history, our marae, our forests, our rivers, our sites of significance and our beekeeping and forest restoration initiatives.

You will arrive in Ruatāhuna and will be welcomed onto one of our many marae in our region. You will be joined by a guide to explain procedure and to assist you in engaging in the formal marae welcome. You will have the opportunity to participate in proceedings (with guidance of course), and to not just be an onlooker. After the pohiri (welcome), you will enjoy lunch in a marae setting.

You will be introduced to the history of the Ruatāhuna region – Te Manawa-o-te-Ika – and why it is so significant for the Tūhoe people. You will learn about our history and our current situation in this modern world. We will share with you the history of the marae and the people of this place.

You will then be taken into our untouched forest of Te Urewera to discover ancient trees and an understory thick with plants that are special to us. You will learn about how we used these in the past and now for food, medicine and other purposes. You will also learn about our forest ecosystems, how our ancient forest has developed over centuries, and how it is undergoing change over time. Our forest restoration initiatives will be explained and you will be given the opportunity to take part in elements of these programmes.

Next for you for are optional activities back at the marae. If you would like a little adventure, take a short ride on our strong sure-footed horses. Bring your own rod and you can go fishing. Or you can simply go beside the river for a walk and to cool off. If you prefer stay at the marae and join in the preparation of the traditional hangi meal for dinner, or learn how to make and cook our special treat – fried bread!

You will all get back in time for the lifting of the hangi and you will then enjoy our hospitality in traditional style. You will be entertained by our local haka group and get to participate with your own cultural offerings!

You will be looked after in a traditional manner in the meeting house for the evening and will have your guide to explain proceedings. You will get the opportunity for learning more from your Tūhoe hosts about this mystical region, its history and people, and also for you to share more about your background and culture. You will sleep traditional style in this meeting house and rise to a hearty breakfast at the marae.

You will be taken to visit on a tour that takes in our local farm, sites of significance and the beehives of our honey production operation. You will learn about sheep and cattle farming in our valley, and generally in New Zealand. Then you will visit an apiary (bee-yard) where your apiarist guide will take you right into the wonder world of the honey bee. You will learn about how a beehive works, how the glorious honeys of our unique region are made and the importance of the honey for pollination in our forest and local ecosystems. And yes! You will get to taste fresh comb honey straight from the hive!

You will enjoy refreshments on the move for morning tea, but return to the marae for a hearty lunch and a warm farewell, with gifts for you to take with you as a momento to last about Ruatāhuna.

Dates: by arrangement November to March each year


To experience a mystical, remote, pure and natural paradise with the people of this land…

Have any questions? Contact us!

+64 7 366 3166


Monday - Friday: 9.00 - 5.00

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