TOUR INTRODUCTION (150 words max)
This half-day tour offers a revealing look at New Zealand history, from a Maori perspective. See the first mission settlement, and a traditional Maori meeting house, where Maori elders explain their cultural traditions. Also stroll through a grove of massive kauri trees at Puketi State Forest.
FULL DESCRIPTION (500 words max)
Your half-day tour begins as you board your motorcoach for a scenic drive to Kerikeri, a popular tourist attraction in the Bay of Islands.
Upon arriving in Kerikeri, you'll make a photo stop at the oldest wooden building, Kemp House, and the oldest stone building, the Stone Store, both part of the Church Mission Settlement established in 1819. The Kemps continued to live in the house after the mission station folded in 1848, operating a kauri gum business from the Stone Store. The dwelling and gardens passed down through the family until it was gifted to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1974.
The Stone Store was also passed into Kemp family ownership, and from 1929 onwards was used mainly as a general store. Also within sight are Rewa’s Village, a reconstruction of a Maori fishing village, and Kororipo Pa, a path leading to Kororipo Pa, the fortified headquarters of chief Hongi Hika, (chief) and war leader of the Ngapuhi iwi (tribe).
Next, you’ll drive to the Puketi Forest once covered most of the Bay of Islands with massive kauri trees. Now protected in reserves, these magnificent trees rival California's redwoods in height and girth. A 20-minute walk through the forest on a boardwalk affords you the opportunity to marvel at these imposing trees. Nearly 50,000 visitors annually use the elevated wooden walkway which protects the kauris' sensitive feeding roots, yet allows visitors to get up close to the ancient trees of the forest.
You’ll continue to a Maori Marae, and visit the Maori Meetinghouse. Upon arriving, you’ll be greeted with a traditional Powhiri or welcome ceremony. You're certain to be awestruck as Maori elders explain the carvings adorning the meetinghouse and relate their traditions, which extend to the first Maori migration from Polynesia over 1,000 years ago.
Your tour concludes with a drive back to the wharf. With the Bay of Islands behind you, you’ll take home a myriad of unforgettable memories of a lifetime.