Just 10 minutes walk from downtown Rotorua is the Māori village of Ohinemutu. This place is home to the Ngāti Whakaue tribe, who gifted the land on which the city of Rotorua was built. Ngati Whakaue is a sub-tribe of the Te Arawa waka (canoe) which journeyed from the Pacific homeland of Hawaiiki to New Zealand around 1350AD. The location was chosen for its lakeside setting and abundant geothermal energy, used for cooking, bathing and heating.

Visitors are welcome to walk around the living village. Remember to keep to the paths at all times.

Please note that tour groups are only permitted to walk through the village by prior arrangement. Please contact Kia Ora Guided Walks should you wish to arrange this. 

 

Ohinemutu, The Centre of Rotorua

Ohinemutu was the city centre for the Rotorua region in the early 1870’s. Visitors, including royalty, arrived at this bustling settlement before going on to visit the Pink and White Terraces at Lake Tarawera, and to experience the healing waters of Rotorua. Today, Tamatekapua - the largest meeting house in the village and city, provides the setting for many significant occasions for the people of Rotorua.

 

 

Tamatekapua Meeting House

Ohinemutu is home to the magnificent Tamatekapua meeting house, named after the paramount chief and captain of the Te Arawa canoe. The carvings on the large house are exquisite and highlighted by hundreds of inlaid shiny paua shells. The house is not open to the public, but you are welcome to enjoy it from the outside.

 

 

St Faith's Church

Towards the lake's edge is the historic and beautifully decorated St Faith’s Church, which was completed in 1914. While its exterior is Tudor-style, the church interior has a strong Māori influence, with intricate carvings and woven panels.

A memorable feature is a window etched with the image of Jesus wearing a Māori cloak – he appears to walk across the surface of the lake.

Visitors are welcome to attend the bilingual service conducted every Sunday at 9.00am, or to visit the church at their leisure. It's open from 8am daily and entry is by a $2 donation.

 

 

Guided Walks

A guided walk is the perfect way to connect with the culture, people, history and landscape of Ohinemutu. Kia Ora Guided Walks run walking tours of the village twice daily.