Arch of the Ancestors
Discover the rich traditions and history of the Maori people on this genuine cultural and heritage tour held on ancestral lands that have been set aside as a conservation reserve. Your tour guide is a knowledgeable local Maori who will share his/her rich and colorful heritage and welcome your questions. Begin with a drive along the picturesque Napier Marine Parade with views to Cape Kidnappers. The scenic Hawke’s Bay countryside unfolds as you pass through the Tuki Tuki Valley farmland, orchards and vineyards, and you will view the legendary Te Mata Peak. Dramatic coastal landscape includes breathtaking views of the island of Motu O Kura. Arriving at the ancestral lands (marae), carefully protected and administered by the Maori people for generations, you will hear about medicinal uses for many of the native plants. You will be greeted in a manner in keeping with the spirituality of the marae--the sound of the conch shell signaling to the home people that you are arriving. You will be formally welcomed into the Arch of the Ancestors. Spend time with the Maori people in small groups to learn about their different crafts and customs. You will see demonstrations of various traditional activities--fighting drills, the art and skill of poi, wood carving and the importance of stones, ancient musical instruments and native eel in the natural wetland habitat. A bottle of water and a "kiwiana" confectionary will be offered and you can browse in the gift shop afterwards for local Maori products and souvenirs. A traditional farewell includes action songs and performances by the home people. This is an intimate, personal and spiritual way to discover the ways of Maori people. Relax and enjoy the countryside views as the coach returns you to the pier and your waiting ship.