Tama-te-Kapua Meeting House

See where British royalty met with Māori leaders in this traditional village of Ohinemutu as you visit this historic meetinghouse.

Along with the breathtaking St. Faith’s Anglican Church, the sacred site of Tama-te-Kapua Meeting House is the centrepiece of the traditional Māori village of Ohinemutu. The original centre in Ohinemutu dates back to the 1870s; however, the Ngāti Tae-o-Tū and Ngāti Whakaue tribes have been settled in the Rotorua area since they canoed across the Pacific in 1350. The first Tama-te-Kapua Meeting House was located on Mokoia Island. The living village of Ohinemutu operates in the traditional tribal ways but is completely open to the public. Visit the Tama-te-Kapua Meeting House to see where British royalty were welcomed and to view the site of the village’s many ceremonies.

Photograph the fascinating structure from the path leading up to it to capture the intricately carved wood panels and paua shells glistening on its front. Named after the captain of the Te Arawa canoe that crossed the Pacific, the meetinghouse actually uses parts of the famous canoe in its construction. Get closer to see the structure’s craftsmanship. The meetinghouse was demolished in the 1930s before being rebuilt in its original fashion.

Sign up for a walking tour of Ohinemutu to gain insight into the traditional ways of life practiced in the village. Kia Ora Guided Walks, a Rotorua-based company, offers two daily walking tours. Hear stories of the British royalty that were introduced to Māori leaders in the town and view the other notable structures of Ohinemutu. Along with a series of traditional houses, the village has two other meeting houses and the iconic St. Faith’s Anglican Church. Visit on a Sunday morning to observe a stirring bilingual church service.

Visitors to Ohinemutu are urged to stay on designated paths to help preserve the village and provide a level of privacy for the residents. Tama-te-Kapua Meeting House is not open to the public, but can be viewed from the outside. Book walking tours from within Rotorua before venturing to the village. Ohinemutu is just a 10-minute walk from downtown Rotorua. Some car parking is available in the area. A local bus line also services the village.