Seeing Goldman is in New Zealand prompted me to review my notes from my trip there. I really loved that trip.
One thing that fascinates me is the role of the Maori culture in modern New Zealand. NZ is one of the very few places where native peoples were able to survive the invading Europeans and preserve their culture. For tourists, the easiest place to see that culture is in Rotorua, in the heart of the volcanos of the North Island. The town itself is kind of frumpy, and some of the tourist kitsch is a bit much, but overall it's a good place.Te Puia, a one-stop spot for your New Zealand tourist checklist. In one place you get Maori arts and crafts (including a beautiful marae), Maori feasting and dance, a geothermal valley, even kiwi birds. The center of the place is a serious school for traditional carving, so it's got some depth.
We stayed at the Millenium hotel. It was OK, not great, undergoing a badly needed renovation. Dinner was at Herbs Restaurant, in the middle of the little restaurant row near the end of Tutanekai street. I wouldn't go back. I regret now we didn't do go to a traditional hangi feast. I'm told it's quite nice.