• Tangata | People

    The Birth of Tamaki Māori Village

It was 1989 and brothers Mike and Doug Tamaki embarked on a journey that would forever change the world around them.

With his vision jotted down on a cafe serviette, Mike Tamaki, master storyteller convinced his brother Doug to sell his beloved Harley and trade it in for a 16-seater Japanese minibus.

And so, it began. But it wasn’t your ordinary bus tour. In true cowboy style,  Mike and Doug pioneered their way into the hearts of visitors from all over the world – literally carving their own path on many occasions. It didn’t matter that the bus didn’t always make it up the hill or that the concerts took place in a tent – it was raw, real, and their spirit was infectious.

Word spread about the two Māori boys and the vehicle they created to share the untold stories of the Māori people. An impressive series of accolades and awards followed as
Tamaki Māori Village rose to the top from the ground up.

Of the people, by the people

Of the people and by the people, Mike and Doug’s passion and relentless determination to do things a little bit differently took the world by storm. It was always about capturing the true essence and synergy of the Māori culture and helping it evolve. It was combining tradition and contemporary elements, honouring legends from the days of old and placing value to their worth and wisdom today.

Tamaki Māori Village is where the past, present and future of Māori culture thrives.

Welcome to our home

Brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers – Tamaki Māori Village became a gathering place for generations of Māori families who came together to share their culture. The social impact for the local Rotorua community that Tamaki created was huge – with countless numbers of Māori offered not just employment but an opportunity to do something truly meaningful.

It meant starting conversations, a korero, within the Māori community to strengthen identities but also a korero with a global audience. Tamaki Māori Village became a vehicle of exchange and the world was listening.

A never-ending story

The first chapter in Mike and Doug’s story began 30 years ago. This beginning, this one story brought people from all around the world to Tamaki Māori Village and connected their journeys here – home to our people, our land and our spirit.

When you take your first steps into our home, we will speak of our mountains, our rivers and our waters, to welcome you into our world. So that wherever your journey leads to, you will always have a sense of belonging here.

“Māori culture thrives today because it has continued to evolve, while holding steadfast to our customs and beliefs. Our ancestors carved a very distinct pathway for us to follow in to the future. This pathway is the platform we proudly tell our stories  from and this what we do here at Tamaki Māori Village. We share the true essence of who we are through our stories .”

Mike Tamaki
Founder