Difference Between Te Puia and Whakarewarewa

Te Puia vs Whakarewarewa: What’s the difference?

Te Puia and Whakarewarewa may share similar attractions, yet they couldn’t be more different. So what is the difference? 

The difference between Te Puia and Whakarewarewa is that Te Puia is a Maori cultural conservation park with geothermal pools, traditional Maori crafts, and more. Meanwhile, Whakarewarewa is a living traditional Maori village where people can experience traditional Maori village life. 

Interested in learning more? Join us as we delve into the differences between these places! 

Te Puia vs Whakarewarewa: Unique Features 

In terms of what their unique features offer to travelers, Te Puia leans more towards a formal cultural and geothermal feature showcase but Whakarewarewa’s locations are more about offering an immersive experience.

Te Puia 

  • Geothermal Wonderland 

Te Puia spans over 70 hectares within the historic Te Whakarewarewa Valley. There’s more than 500 geothermal wonders like boiling mud pools and hot springs.

  • Māori Arts and Crafts Institute

Here, traditional Māori arts continue to thrive. Depending on when you go, you may even be able to watch Māori carvers and weavers at work.

  • Kiwi Bird Conservation Center

Get up close to the Kiwi bird here! They have guided tours available that raise awareness of the kiwi conservation efforts. 

  • Guided Tours and Performances

Te Puia has different guided tours and cultural performances that give insight into Māori history, culture, and traditions. There’s even a welcoming performance from the moment you walk into the park!


  • Living Māori Community

Whakarewarewa is a living, working village where the Māori community has resided for over 200 years. Coming here allows you to get an authentic glimpse into traditional Māori life.

  • Geothermal Cooking Demonstrations

Whakarewarewa offers a unique experience where you’re able to watch meals being cooked right in front of you! They use the village’s natural geothermal steam and waters, and if you’re lucky, you may even be able to lend a hand. 

Te Puia vs Whakarewarewa: Cultural Experiences

Whakarewarewa provides a more immersive experience than Te Puia in terms of cultural experiences. On the other hand, Te Puia arguably provides a more educational experience. 

Te Puia

  • Performances

Te Puia hosts daily cultural performances that include the powerful Haka (war dance) and the melodic waiata (songs). These performances, while staged, are authentic representations of ancient Māori traditions.

  • Craftsmanship

As the home of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, Te Puia is where tradition meets innovation. Visitors can observe students mastering carving and weaving under the guidance of expert tutors.


  • Performances

Here, performances are not just scheduled events but an integral part of daily life.  Traditional ceremonies, dances, and songs echo through the village.

  • Craftsmanship

The village’s self-sustainability is a testament to traditional Māori craftsmanship. Every item tells a story of survival and adaptation, from the intricately carved meeting houses to the woven flax baskets.

  • Storytelling

As a living village, Whakarewarewa’s storytelling is in its existence. The narratives here are real and ongoing, offering a glimpse into the lives of the people who live there.

Geothermal Attractions

Te Puia focuses more on displaying geothermal wonders in a park setting. Whakarewarewa showcases how the geothermal features are used in the daily lives of the Māori people.

Te Puia

Many take guided tours to see the natural hot pools and active geysers, including the famous Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser. 

But the star attraction is the Pōhutu Geyser, the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere. It erupts once or twice every hour, shooting water up to 30 meters into the air.


The biggest difference is not the geothermal features itself but that you get to see how the village residents use them in their everyday life. For example, they have cooking demonstrations and more.

Te Puia vs Whakarewarewa: Packaged Experiences

Te Puia’s packaged experiences focus more on Maori heritage. At Whakarewarewa, the focus is more on present-day Maori culture. 

Te Puia 

Te Puia has two different packages. 

  • Their guided experience takes you throughout Te Puia, showing you everything the park offers. 
  • The TE RA + HAKA performance experience is a live culture performance that gives you access to their Kiwi conservation centre.  


Whakarewarewa has three packaged experiences. 

  • Whakarewarewa has an all day pass for those who want to experience everything the village offers. 
  • They also have an hour-long guided village tour that takes you through the village and shows you where the Maori people cook, bathe and more. 
  • Then, there is the guided geothermal eco tour. The tour lasts for about an hour, but you’ll go down the different trails, and past the different geothermal pools.