Traditional Maori culture and geothermal activity combine at the fascinating lakeside village of Ohinemutu in Rotorua. Steam rises from volcanic vents in the ground (local Maori families still use the earth’s energy in this way for cooking and heating); the sacred Tama-Te-Kapua meetinghouse is adorned with intricate wood carvings. Nearby, St. Faith’s Anglican Church melds both Maori and European design elements with woven tukutuku (a latticework of natural materials) panels, Maori carvings, and colorful stained-glass windows illuminating the compact interior with Southern Hemisphere sunshine. One spectacular window shows Christ wearing a traditional Maori cloak and appearing to walk on the waters of Lake Rotorua. When visiting, be quiet and respectful of local families, as Ohinemutu is private land.

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