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Charles Royal Maorifood Trails

Marae Stay & Seafood Tour

Rotorua Highway 35
East Coast North Island
Aotearoa, New Zealand


These are exclusive soft adventures for the discerning and sophisticated travelers. The ones who can put up with a short break away from the hotels, porters and restaurants to savour at its best. from Tangaroa or the god of the sea.

Maori food – Maori hospitality – Maori people

Drive or fly from your destination to Rotorua. Charles your personal chef & tour guide will meet you at Rotorua and drive your vehicle on S/H 35 towards his marae at Te Kaha, Rotorua, on the East Coast of the North Island. Listen to the songs, stories & the history of where Charles’s ancestors came from thousands of years ago.


Stop off at a local hot spring, if it’s to hot we can have a swim in one of the many lakes we drive by on the way to the coast.

Call in at local Maori artist in residence Joe Kemp, who specalises in contemporary sculpture.
Distant view of Marae
Drive another hour towards Whakatane town sightseeing with questions and answers about local tribal history, food, plants and their medicinal properties. Visit road side stores and sample the local produce. Then a 1.5 hour scenic coastal drive to prepare for a welcome onto Charles’s marae by his whanau (family). The Marae is the “heart” of the family.
Kina Pot
Kina Farm

Maori families are founded on descent lineage from eponymous or common ancestor(s). The stories of our ancestors begin here and on your stay with us learn what they knew and how our family retained knowledge and protocols of the past.

Spend time with our family kaumatua / kuia, elders that have been here since day one. During your stay, enjoy the fruits of all four seasons, know when the kina or the roe of the sea urchins are at their best and ready to be cooked the traditional style “in the shell” locally known as Kina Pot™.

Learn what season is the best time to catch certain fish delicacies and seaweeds.

Abalone Chutney
Maori Seafood - Aunty Harriet

Moki Taperu

Moki Taperu preparation

Spend time with Charles & the family preparing fish and shellfish while singing songs that relate to certain fish from the area and the season when it’s at it’s tastiest.

Activities are tailored to suit the weather and conditions from day to day season to season year to year.

Marae beach front picture
East coast rock
Kinaki diving 2007.
Moby / John the East Coast Hangi Kings.
Hangi King John Ruha.
Kerry the Hangi Man

Walk the talk about the stories of old and new through karakia – prayer, songs, history, stick games local stories, art, carving, weaving, crafties baking, cooking, preserving, and the activities go on whilst the whanau prepares the hangi or earth oven for the hakari or evening feast which will have the bounty from the land and sea.

With many good traditions, there are always plenty of emotions and memories to be had. With the arrival of pakeha or fair skinned people the tribe quickly learnt how to adapt to new ways when planting introduced varieties of fruits and vegetables that are now grown in family orchards all year round.

For Charles, this idea stems back from cooking with his beloved Nanny Cinny, his maternal grandmother who taught him a little of what he knows. With nine children to care for, cooking had to be efficient, wholesome and great tasting to ensure all the children and adults were fed and nourished properly. They too were taught how to dive fish cook and survive from the sea at a very young age.

His mother Kahukura a Maru, taught Charles allot when cooking for the family at home during his childhood. Another family recipe is Nanny Cinny’s boiled pudding it’s always the favorite at a family feast or hakari. Other family members say their Nanny’s boiled pudding is better. Charles assures you, Nanny Cinnys will always be the best because he knows how to burn the sugar properly and has the secret ingredient that goes with cold tea.

As well as boiled pudding, Charles loves to work with all forms of seafood, poultry, meat, fruit and vegetables both native and introduced varieties. What started as a way for Charles to bring the Maori influence back into the way he prepared kai (food) for the whanau (family), particularly to help inspire and teach the children of their own whanau traditions.

Charles’ found there was a need out in the community and the wider world for others to learn about this forgotten piece of history. His entrepreneurial spirit comes simply from wanting the traditions of Maori food, cuisine and culture to be first and foremost for his family and the country.

He is also available for Kinaki Wild Food Tours in Taumarunui , Mokia Island Maori Food Tours Rotorua , consultation, cooking presentations & demonstrations – the list simply goes on and on & on……...

Nau te rourou Naku te rourou Ka ora ai ki te manuhiri
With your basket and my basket It will be good health for all our guests

Experience the best the sea can offer and the good life of the local tribe Te Whanau a Apanui, the family of our ancestor “Apanui”.


Day 1

0800: Meet Charles in Rotorua.

0900: Visit hot springs.

1030: Morning tea visit Joe Kemp contemporary Maori artist in residence.

1130: Tour of Whakatane town and district.

1200: Lunch at Opotiki town.

1330: Coastal scenic drive along state highway 35 to Family Marae.

1530: Arrive at marae and prepare for family welcome.

1630: Settle in and prepare for evening with family.

1800: Dinner

1930: Night activities and protocols of the marae.

2200: Supper

2300: Po Marie - Good Night Itinery

Day 2

0700 – 0900 : Breakfast - Brunch.

0900 – 1200 : Activities of your choice - beach combing, rock fishing, basket weaving, harvesting, relaxing games

1200: Lunch

1230: 1630: More activities of your choice - Hangi Feast preparation, Dining Room setting, Ccooking Lessons or relaxing

1700-1730: Settle in and prepare for evening with family.

1800- 1830: Hangi Dinner Service

1930 - 2130: Dinner night activities, karakia or prayer family speeches song & dance story telling

2200: Supper

2300: Po Marie - Good Night Itinery

Day 3

0800 – 0900 : Breakfast - Brunch.

0900 – 1100 : Finish breakfast & pack for trip back to Rotorua. Farewell from home marae following our foot prints back.

1300 - 1330: Lunch at Ohiwa beach finishing off with fresh fish and chips and Maori bread.

1330 - 1530: Arrive back in Rotorua

1600 : Pai Marie - Good Day.

Minimum: 2 pax
Maximum: 6 pax Adults
Cost: NZ $POA
  Under 13 NZ$POA
  • 50% deposit is required on confirmation of booking.
  • 50% balance will be paid on completion of Maorifood Trail.

Credit will be refunded if a cancellation has been received by "e mail" only, no more than 2 days prior to the confirmed booking of Kinaki Maorifood Trails.


Please respect the marae and its taonga or treasures and knowledge that have been passed down by our ancestors.

Our rules are for the safety of our families and guests that visit us. Should there be a “whanau tangi” or family bereavement our guests will have the opportunity to be part of the whanau or alternative accommodation will be organized.

We hope you enjoy your stay and look forward to meeting you.

Yours truly.
Maori Chef Charles P.T Royal.
New Zealand Innovative Chef of the Year 2003.
NZ Cuisine Magazine & Matua Valley Wines Award Winner for Innovation & Excellence 2004-2005

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