A group of Mourea landowners hopes its new tourism venture will showcase new land and views, untold stories and be developed further.

The venture is being described as a new way to experience old culture and will be called Kahukiwi Experiences. Phase one is expected to launch in December.

It will see groups of six taken on a tour of farmland in a Range Rover. A Māori guide will share stories of the land and its people.

Te Taru White and Laurence Tamati are the inaugural directors of the experience while Allison Lawton is the project manager.


Lawton said the venture would be a "heartfelt cultural journey".

"It's around transporting our visitors and immersing them in a Māori cultural journey.

"Before now the only people that have walked the land are people of the iwi [Ngāti Pikiaō from Te Takinga Marae]."

Lawton said the tour would offer never before seen views of Rotorua, Rotoiti and Rotoma.

White said the tour was the first phase of hopefully many.

"The first phase is trying to get the storyline right ... Storytelling is the gateway to who we are."

Future phases could include marae or lake experiences, glamping and a cafe.

"These are things we'll progress one step at a time."

White said these ideas were "seriously on the radar" but they wanted to make sure phase one was successful first.

When asked what made this experience different, White said it was the people.

"It's always the people, how we welcome them and work with visitors and create excitement. Natural resources are great but people make it greater.

"The stories are unique to us. It's a family farm, family land and we're going to tell it from a family perspective."

The group is also concerned with preserving the land. The move away from being a dairy farm was a way to preserve the environment.

White said profits would go back to the iwi, maybe in the form of scholarships or help for elderly. Lawton expected economic benefits in the form of jobs, education, and more visitors.

White said it opened up the door to collaboration with other tourism operators in the area such as white water rafting and Hinehopu Golf Club.

Sam Sutton of Rotorua Rafting welcomed the new venture and said it would be good for the area.

"Ultimately I'd like Okere Falls to become its own destination. The whole area is such an amazing place and there's a variety of activities becoming available."

The owner at another nearby rafting operation said any new tourism ventures were good for the area.

"There's a lot of stuff going on in Rotorua but it's big and spread out so it can accommodate more, especially if it's new or different."

Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the launch of a new tourism operation was a positive sign of a strong, vibrant economy and it was exciting to have a new offering.

"Rotorua's tourism target is $1.5 billion visitor expenditure by 2030 so our visitor strategy focuses on developing value for our visitors, rather than just increasing the number of people who pass through.

"The type of authentic hospitality that will be offered by Kahukiwi Experiences is key to encouraging visitors to spend longer here and create the kinds of memories that will last a lifetime."

Recruitment for tour operators is expected to start next week. To start there will be three driver guides but Lawton was hopeful the venture would expand in the coming years.

"We would love to have a descendant from Te Takinga. We would love someone from Rotorua knowledgeable about things Māori."

The three hour tours are expected to run at 9am and 1.30pm, 364 days a year and cost $149.