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Art & Culture Adventures

Posted in Exploring the Bay

Exciting events, art exhibits, stories and legends – check out this guide on how to immerse yourself in the cultural flavours of the Bay.


Māori culture is woven throughout the fabric of the Bay of Plenty region. Find out the stories behind the culturally significant sites of Mauao, Wairaka, Whakaari (White Island), and Otanewainuku and enjoy the views of one of our many stunning historical coastal walks like Nga Tapuwae o Toi, (the 'Footprints of Toi') in Whakatāne.

Mataatua: The House That Came Home

Experience the unforgettable Mataatua Wharenui, a fully carved Māori ancestral house that travelled the world for over a century before returning home to its people, the Ngāti Awa tribe of Whakatāne. Marvel at the intricacy of the carved representations of the great chiefs of Ngāti Awa, before two of the most famous legends of the tribe are brought to life before your eyes in Hiko: Legends Carved in Light – the award winning Mataatua visitor experience.


The story of Mauao

Mauao (Mount Maunganui) is an iconic landmark, loved by locals and considered a treasured ancestor by Māori. Walk around the base track (keep your eyes peeled for little blue penguins and seals!) or climb to the top for spectacular panoramic views.

Keep the camera handy – as one of the most popular short walks and climbs in New Zealand, Mauao boasts spectacular scenery you’ll want to capture and share. #mountmaunganui #mauao #bayofplentynz

Discover the stories of Mauao by downloading the Arataki Cultural Trails app: arataki.co

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga is one of the oldest heritage sites in New Zealand.

As a place of early contact between Māori and Pākehā, this historic site remains at the centre of Tauranga’s history and identity today. Journey through the expansive grounds, and enjoy a guided tour of the historic house and library.

The Elms is open from 10am - 4pm seven days a week except Christmas Day.


Tauranga is home to some spectacular events. Here's a glimpse at just a few on their way in 2019:

Mega World - The Expansive Universe of Illustration
Tauranga Art Gallery’s signature show for 2019 will transport you to an unknown landscape of underground illustration, graphic novels, cartoonists, and animation.
When: 23 February – 7 July 2019

National Jazz Festival Tauranga
This Easter, Tauranga will come alive with all things jazz. There's more concerts than ever before in 2019, featuring Hollie Smith, Bella Kalolo, Lou’ana Whitney and many more amazing acts, alongside great events such as the Downtown Tauranga Carnival and Hurricane Party.
When: 18 – 21 April 2019

Vegan Vibes
Featuring market stalls, vegan food trucks, workshops, speakers and live music. Vegan Vibes' purpose is to educate and entertain whether you're omnivore, vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian!
When: 28 September 2019

Tauranga Arts Festival
The biennial Tauranga Arts Festival is back in 2019. Prepare yourself for a world-class programme direct from leading artists and performers at the peak of their practice. It's a live experience that you don't have to travel to Auckland for or be living in London - it happens right here in Tauranga.
When: 24 October - 3 November 2019

Local and internationally recognised artist, Graham Hoete (Mr G) will showcase his first solo exhibition in Tauranga later this year. With large scale, photo realistic portraits showcasing a deep connection to Tauranga Moana, "HOME" will take your breath away.
When: From November 2019

Read about Tauranga's food and dining scene.

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