The Motuti Marae is located off the Hokianga Harbour in North Land, New Zealand. A marae is a sacred place that serves both religious and social purposes. The Catholic faith is still a large part of the culture and traditions of Maori in Hokianga, and the Motuti Marae experience is based on the "whanu" or family, which is the heart of Mouti and New Zealand Maori culture. Visitors are welcomed to become part of the whanu and learn traditional weaving, poi-making, "waiata" (songs), "haka" (traditional dance), "kemu" (stick games) and bone and wood carving. Carving is an important cultural tradition for Maori, as the carvings represent different ancestors and relate the history and stories of the Hokianga Harbour.
Known to by the Maori as Te Kohanga, the Hokianga Harbour is a long estuarine drowned valley located on the west coast in the northwest of the North Land. It extends 70 kilometers inland from the Tasman Sea, and has a low population, meaning there are plenty of open beaches. The climate is generally mild throughout the entire year, allowing gardens to grow well in this area, and the estuary consists of a tidal river system lined with mangroves, small harbourside towns and family farms.
In the Eastern Bay of Plenty in the North Island of New Zealand, right next to the Pacific Ocean, sits the town of Whakatane. One of the sunniest towns in New Zealand, its warm waters are world-famous for deep sea fishing and marine sports, and more yellow-fin tuna are caught here than anywhere else in the country. Here, one can relax on the sands of Ohope Beach, take a White Island live volcano tour, go whale watching and dolphin swimming, walk or run the Nga Tapuwae O Toi bush track, and watch rare sea birds at Ohiwa Harbour. Other Whakatane attractions include the museum, an observatory and Maori historical sites. There is plenty to do at Whakatane.
Whakatane is the gateway to White Island, which is one of the world's few accessible live volcanoes. Located 48 kilometers off the coast of Whakatane makes White Island easily accessible by boat or helicopter, and one could even take a scenic flight around the island. The acid lake in the island's depths offers an unforgettable insight into nature's primal creativity. White Island is also a great scuba diving destination as it provides a unique dive experience where one can explore the underwater steam vents or commune with large schools of fish.