New Zealand’s Maori Culture

New Zealand Maori

Biodiversity thrives in beautiful New Zealand. The scenic mountains, lakes and parks will definitely keep you coming back to this amazing country. There are many great reasons why New Zealand can be your ideal destination.

The rich culture which is dominated by the Maori culture is definitely a great reason why visiting New Zealand should be put on your bucket list. The Kiwi life here is dynamic, exciting and soul touching. Your visit to New Zealand would not be complete without visiting the Maori villages in New Zealand.

Theses indigenous people settled in New Zealand more than 1000 years ago in the mythical Hawaiki homeland. Making up about 14% of the citizens of the country, Maori art, culture and traditions are largely incorporated into the identity of the land. Begin your journey with a kia-ora which really means hello in the Maori language. As you traverse through the land, you will find snippets of history and beautiful sites that will give you an insight into the Maori culture.

Take time off your itinerary to watch a Maori cultural performance. Here is where you can see what Maori art and tradition is all about; portrayed in the perfection of song, dance and haka. Haka is an ancient war dance performed by the local Maori and is a must watch while in New Zealand. There are many tours in New Zealand that will give you the opportunity to be welcomed into a meeting area with a large scale feast cooked in traditional earth ovens; a great way to kick start your holiday in New Zealand.

When in New Zealand, Maori visual art is something that should not be missed out. Intricate carvings, weavings and traditional weaponry that all bear an interesting story to them can be found in museums and centers that showcase the uniqueness of the Maori people.

Maori Arts

Maori culture, arts and crafts

If you are an arts and crafts junkie, the centre of the North Island will be a great place for you to explore and fully discover the intricacy of the Maori culture and art. This forms a large part of New Zealand art and culture and you will definitely love how the whole area is a great place to get lost and wander through. The lakeside city is an amazing place to explore where you have the Te Puia; the National Arts and Crafts centre.

The traditional Maori village is also here in Rotorua. Whakerewarewa is an amazing place to visit that gives you the opportunity to see the lifestyle of an ancient Maori village up close and gain a better insight into the life of a traditional Maori.

The capital city is also a great place to learn more about Maori culture. The national museum is situated here and showcases some very interesting exhibits. Check out artifacts, cravings at the War Memorial Museum in Auckland will definitely intrigue you. Here is also a great place to read up on the many interesting war stories from the Maoris.

Maori House

Maori countryside

Get out of the city in New Zealand and see the essential New Zealand culture and countryside. Here is where you will find the essence of the Maori culture. While there are Maoris living in more urban areas, the countryside is still the best place to immerse you in the wonders of the Maori tribe. The countryside is lined with long low buildings that have ornate carvings. These are called Marae and they are the tribal grounds of the Maori people who live in the countryside. The charming and quaint town will definitely leave you mesmerized as you walk along the grassy paved area. The Marae serves as a community facility for the locals and you can walk through them and see the daily activities carried out right here. Learn more about the Maori culture and protocols here and you will even find many schools, public amenities and university campuses located in close vicinity to the Marae.

Maori Food

When in New Zealand, do not pass up the opportunity to try out the many interesting dishes of the Maori people. Many hotels and restaurants around New Zealand promise scrumptious dishes including a special meal called Hangi. This meal is prepared in a deep pit dug underground. The food is cooked from the heat of the hot stones below and earth is heaped over the covers to thoroughly cook the food.

Do try Kumara; a sweet potato dish served with wild herbs. There are many restaurants that specialize in New Zealand’s modern cuisine but still incorporate a taste of the traditional Maori cooking into their food.

Maori Heritage

Maori heritage

More than a thousand years have passed since the Polynesian people moved to New Zealand; from their mystical homeland fondly known as Hawaiki. The heritage and history of the Maori people are unique and the many museums and cultural centers throughout the country exhibit showcases that tell the Maori history in an interesting way.

According to the records, Kupe was the first Maori ancestor to discover the island of New Zealand. He named the island Aotearoa which literally means the land of the long white cloud. The name still stands today and the locals still refer to their island as Aotearoa. Many of the visits to the island by Maoris were return trips that were guided by elements in nature like the stars, waves and birds.

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