Taupo's first Māori cultural cruise set to sail

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Taurikura is the first interactive Māori cultural scenic cruise set to entertain the throngs on Lake Taupō this summer. In an exclusive, Te Kāea was invited to their practise run ahead of their first official outing next month.

“This is an opportunity to take tourists on our lake,” said Taurikura facilitator, Henare Pitiroi.

“The essence of the stories and songs retell the life of the lake and the footsteps of Ngātoroirangi across the land, because when we reach the cliff face of Ngātoroirangi as part of the cruise, what we say relates to him.”

Guests will be entertained with traditional Māori dance by senior students from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa i te Reo ki Tūwharetoa, participate in traditional Māori stick games and learn poi.

“It's good that we share our culture with people from overseas,” said performer Waikeria Panapa.

“It's an excellent experience an opportunity to show case our Māori culture to the world,” said Takoha Pitiroi.

Last year Taurikura began entertaining in hotels. Chris Jolly Outdoors saw the opportunity to collaborate for visitors to learn local Māori history first hand.

“It's just something unique for lake Taupo,” said skipper Pete Boyle.

“Nobody else does it here. It's just awesome. It just goes with the whole area here, going around having a look at the history of the lake. Round there at the Māori rock carvings around there in Mine Bay.”

The partnership has opened more opportunities for Taurikura.

“We plan to host concerts at the school,” said Pitiroi, “the students will organise the hangi, taking care of the guests and the performances.”

The first cruise will sail on November 2.