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Ohinemutu is a small part of the city of Rotorua where ancient and modern Māori culture lives on. Providing an insight into both the past and present way of Māori life, it’s a cultural experience not to be missed. Just like the rest of the Rotorua city center, Ohinemutu sees small pockets of geothermal activity and has wonderful views of Lake Rotorua.
Take a walk along the lake from the center of Rotorua to reach the small settlement. Home to the Ngāti Whakaue people, Ohinemutu is centered on the fascinating Te Papaiouru Marae. A “marae” is a traditional complex of a meeting house with courtyard and any other associated community buildings.
Looking at the intricately painted buildings with wood-carved decorations, you can see how important these are to the local community. The most striking of all is the Tama-te-Kapua meeting house. The meeting house was named after the legendary chief and captain of the Te Arawa “waka” (canoe), which brought the first inhabitants to New Zealand. Notice the inlaid paua shells and the delicate carvings that adorn the façade.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the unusual St. Faith’s Church, which was built on the lake’s shore in 1914. Its Tudor-style exterior, common in England, gives way to an interior with a strong Māori influence. Its most famous feature is a stained-glass window depicting Jesus Christ wearing a Māori cloak. The position of the window gives the impression of Jesus walking on the lake’s surface.
As you stroll around the village, hear and smell the geothermal activity, bubbling up through the Earth’s surface. The site of Ohinemutu was chosen to take advantage of these thermal waters for bathing, cooking and heating.
Ohinemutu is only a short walk from central Rotorua. If driving, there is a small parking lot next to the Māori handcrafts shop. The meeting house is not open to the public, but the church is. A donation is kindly requested. As a living and working suburb, Ohinemutu is permanently open and free of charge, but the villagers ask you to respect their privacy as you walk around.
When we think back over our travels, we usually remember experiences rather than our swish hotel room and its view of the beach. Are you ready to start creating some new travel memories?
Trying out an Absolutely Rotorua -Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu, Sights & Mitai is a nice way to begin your Ohinemutu adventure.
Got some time up your sleeve? Make your way to our Ohinemutu things to do page for a complete list of activities.
We were very pleased with our accommodation, the host was friendly and helpful. The room was perfect for what we needed, fantastic shower and the bed was super comfy!! Excellent location, handy to everything. We would definitely stay again, in fact we are booked in for next January already!!
Room was nice and big. Shelves under bathroom sink need a thorough clean and behind the radiator was quite dusty (I’m asthmatic) but other than that the room was great. The water gets really really hot in the shower but I imagine that the water in the hot springs heats the showers so just something ...
Cozy apartment with all comfort and a large terrace. Convenient location in central Rotorua. Easy parking and Netflix are a big plus
Another great stay. Room had everything we needed and the spa bath was perfect for our young boy. Definitely an older hotel but doesn't affect the overall satisfaction of our stay..we loved it 😊
enjoyed the stay and the place was clean. the only thing that was hard was the amount of parking there was but all full so had to park on road. food was great for breakfast and everything went well