The Maori were the first people in New Zealand and Rotorua is a town steeped in Maori history and culture. It is located in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. A great place to gain first-hand knowledge of some of the traditions of Maori culture in Rotorua is the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia. Here you can watch traditional weavers and carvers carrying out thier craft.
Some of the original students from the school’s beginnings in the 1960s are still here and teaching the three-year diploma students. While they are teaching the next generation about the history and methods behind their craft, they also welcome visitors to chat and ask questions. You can find out the meaning behind the various patterns and how natural resources are used to great effect.
Later, visitors have the opportunity to purchase some of the items in the shop that are actually made on site. With the care and attention given to each item, of course, this artwork comes at a price. But if you are in the market for something original to take home, chances are that you may also get to chat to the artist who has made it. This makes for a personal souvenir for the visitor and a welcome recognition of the artist. In turn the tradition of these craft will carry a value that will keep it going well into the future.
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