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Haka origins, Opotaka Lake Rotoaira

  • 2 minutes

North Island, New Zealand

For rugby fans, schoolchildren who have practiced the haka ritual ceremonial dance (challenge) at school or visitors who have listened or witnessed the collective power of a challenge and response the Ka Mate haka story starts in Taupo district near the historic Opotaka site.

The war dance (haka), as performed by the New Zealand All Black rugby team has its beginnings in Opotaka, located on the edge of Lake Rotoaira. The lake, a swamp on either side was an ideal location for a fortified pa (village) site. The All Blacks haka story origins are credited to Chief Te Rauparaha as a chant in response to threat of capture or death. Chief Te Rauparaha was, at the time offered sanctuary from his enemies by Chief Te Whareangi and his wife back in the 1820’s. Location: Opotaka is located on SH47 between Turangi and National Park.

For visitors interested in New Zealand history a visit to Te Porere Redoubt is in order.


Lake Rotoaira feeds the Tokaanu hydropower station and dam complex. A detour to the Tokaanu station does not show casual visitors much with the inlet pipes snaking down to the large concrete station.

Dusk at Lake Taupo, New Zealand
Dusk at Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Lake Taupo is home to the Maori Rock Carvings, a top visitor attraction. Catch a good look at the Maori rock carvings as they rise magnificently out of the water. There are five ways to get to the Maori Rock Carvings. From a leisurely cruise to your own power on a kayak the Maori Rock Carvings are accessible for all visitors including the mobility impaired.

Find out more about Things to do in Taupo – The Ultimate List of Activities – Best Bits.




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