• Tamaki Maori Village

Case study

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village began as a dream to share my culture and has resulted in the most awarded cultural attraction in New Zealand.1989 was the year it all began. Doug and Mike Tamaki forged a turning point for tourism in Rotorua and forever changed the way people from around the world experienced cultural storytelling. Two kiwi cowboys doing things a bit differently. Everything about this original Maori hangi and concert was done the hard way. With no investment capital, it was all family on deck to deliver brochures, make bookings, perform in the shows and cook the hangi night after night.  The moral of the story here is that we started with an idea, we wanted to showcase our culture and that’s about all we knew how to do and we did it with heart and soul.  We believed in our dream and we just kept working at it.

Tamaki was created as the original Maori hangi and concert set in an ancient Tawa forest where visitor’s senses would be engaged as they roved through a traditional Maori village before a hangi dinner and concert. This concept proved popular with the local hoteliers and agents, and soon, with the international trade partners as well.  A pivotal turning point for Tamaki came with the opportunity to be featured in a number of TV documentaries, eventually leading to the creation of our own highly rated seven-part television series “Tamaki Brothers in Hog Heaven.”  This series promoted the destination, experiences, scenery, local characters, and budding entrepreneurs of New Zealand and really helped turn the corner for Tamaki in terms of brand awareness.

As the years have progressed, products were added to the signature evening hangi dinner and concert show with overnight accommodation experiences for backpackers and more recently the development of day tours and native spa experiences.

Today, 30 years later, Tamaki has become an iconic brand in tourism – a leading force that pioneers and inspires through authentic and meaningful cultural experiences that the world continues to applaud and celebrate. Tamaki Māori Village is the most awarded cultural attraction in New Zealand and was voted the seventh best experience in the world by TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice award in 2018.

“I spent 5 years laying the foundations for an amazing true story in Christchurch New Zealand we called ‘The Chronicles of Uitara’. A Global Storytellers trilogy of the history of native settlement.”


At the heart of Tamaki Māori Village are three ‘pou’ or pillars.

Mana Whenua (The Land), Mana Tangata (The People), and Mana Atua (The Spirit), each feather of the emblem represents a different aspect of our pou.

Known as the song bird of Aotearoa, the Tūī were traditionally trained to recite greetings, prayers, and proverbs while mimicking the tones of their Chief. Their ability to communicate bestowed upon them the status of a Manu Rangatira – a chiefly bird.  The Tūī are known to Māori as messengers and so these intelligent birds resonate well with the storytellers of Tamaki Māori Village. They are a beautiful representation of the people and values.

If you look closely at the Tūī, you will see its circular form is not fully enclosed. The white space between the feathers and its beak pay homage to the valued manuhiri, o guests. As guests flow throughout the village you are nurtured with the stories and the knowledge.

Global Storytellers gets to know you, your people, your culture and traditions and drives this through all areas of your experience, so that your guests understand that you live and breathe your pillars.

What visitors are saying

”We were a family of 3 and had the best few hours for a long while. Our 5 year old granddaughter was totally entertained and my son and I learned a lot. The guys were friendly, warm and went out of their way to make our day memorable. The food was delicious. I would highly recommend this experience.”

JoH - Jan 2020 - Tripadvisor

”The interaction with the people, taking you back in time, so moving. The performance was very powerful, amazing voices, gave me goosebumps, it was very noticeable the performers loved what they do and it sure came through on stage.”

Jan Kemp - Jul 2020 - Tripadvisor