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HomeNew ZealandGood Morning America showcases Rotorua's Te Puia traditions and culture

Good Morning America showcases Rotorua’s Te Puia traditions and culture

New Zealand steam geysers. New Zealand landscapes

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Photo: 123RF

An iconic Rotorua destination has been broadcast to millions of viewers on Good Morning America.

The rain did not put a dampener on the 1am (NZ time) live broadcast where Te Puia was featured to highlight Aotearoa as a travel destination which included showcasing te ao Māori.

The morning news show’s coverage includes visits to Queenstown, Fiordland and Auckland, with Te Puia being featured as one of only two live broadcasts in New Zealand.

Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts was asked by her producers where she has not travelled to before and instantly said New Zealand.

“I am so excited, it has been on my bucket list of places to visit,” Roberts said.

During the show on Friday morning, she told her co-hosts about the geysers at Te Puia and how she learnt about te ao Māori from kapa haka to art works.

“It is on the site of an ancient village in a geothermal valley that has great significance to the indigenous people here in New Zealand,” Roberts said.

“The dancers have been beautiful all morning long. They’re telling a story, through their bodies and through their movements.”

Later that morning, she was shown how to cook kai with geothermal heat with methods such as the boiling pool where kai moana is cooked and talked about hāngī.

The broadcast involved weeks of set-up and moving multiple teams and equipment halfway around the world, and had also faced challenges with the recent weather.

Māori Arts and Crafts Institute sales and marketing general manager Sean Marsh said it was a huge moment for Te Puia.

“It is what we do in terms of what we do at Te Puia, we share the stories of this place, of our people but its amplified at a much larger scale. Something I don’t think we’ve ever achieved before so it is hugely empowering and exciting for the team,” he said.

Marsh said it was a great chance to show te ao Māori to the rest of the world.

“It gave an American audience the opportunity to view a pōhiri. We even had American visitors that were here on-site that could see Robin going through that pōhiri process, that close-up opportunity to just see her engaging with our master carvers, our weavers, it was a really great experience for her,” said Marsh.

Te Puia chief executive Tim Cossar said there was no shortage of stories the producers wanted to tell.

“Everyone here has a personal connection to this place. The production team met many who shared their stories, but there were far too many to cover in one live broadcast.

“As our international manuhiri return, we want them to know that we’re not only still standing, but we have come out of Covid stronger and with even more to manaakitanga to give.”

Good Morning America will broadcast live from Auckland tomorrow.

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