The new Steambox experience utilises a favourite Ngā Whā (Steam vent) Puapua, which is located in Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, backdrop to the world famous Pohutu Gesyer.
Visitors choose what they want for their lunch, which is then cooked in the traditional steam vent, while they have a special guided tour of Te Puia and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.
After an interactive weaving session and a tour of the carving and weaving schools, visitors then head down into the geothermal valley to the Kiwi house, mud pools and hot springs, and finally, to watch their lunch being lifted from the Ngā Whā. The guests then enjoy their steam box picnic lunch on the geyser terrace.
Te Puia Sales and Marketing Manager, Kiri Atikinson-Crean, says the Steambox offers a unique insight into the past, utilising traditional cooking practices and tools that have been used by Te Arawa people in the valley for hundreds of years.
“Since earliest settlement within Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, our people have cooked using the steam and hot water naturally available within the thermally active landscape. We still use these steam vents and techniques today.
“The Steambox quite literally gives visitors a taste of our culture and heritage in the Valley, and the feedback we have received to date indicates that people love being part of something so different and so very unique to New Zealand. It’s quite special.”
Ms Atkinson-Crean says the Steambox is available for group bookings, and is proving particularly popular with backpacker tours.
The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and its tourism operation, Te Puia, was established in 1963 by an Act of Parliament to maintain and preserve traditional Māori art forms.
Under that legislation Te Puia’s responsibility is about much more than the visitor experience and includes ensuring the sustainability of the geothermal valley and importantly, protecting and perpetuating Maori traditions, values and beliefs, arts and crafts.
Te Puia is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Te Puia’s evening experience, Te Pō is available each evening from 6:15pm. For further information or to book online, go to www.tepuia.com or call 0800 TE PUIA.