Māori Culture

Nau mai, haere mai! Welcome to Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, home of the Māori people and wellspring of rich cultural experiences that are unique to New Zealand. Descended from some seriously gutsy Polynesian adventurers who journeyed to New Zealand across the mighty Pacific in canoes from an ancestral homeland known as Hawaiki, the Māori established deep relationships with the land and their own unique language, legends, traditions, and art forms.

Today Māori make up about 15 per cent of New Zealand’s population and their cultural heritage makes a vital contribution to the character of the country. You can experience their centuries-old traditions and rich culture through ceremonial rituals, re-enactments of history, powerful performance art and traditional Māori feasts, or simply come across the aspects of it that have filtered into everyday life in modern New Zealand.

Māori cultural experiences rate highly on the highlights reel of travellers to New Zealand, and no matter where you are in the country, it’s likely a thrilling cultural experience is not far away. Visit a marae or replica pre-colonial Māori village, take in a cultural performance like kapa haka (based on traditional arts but with contemporary elements), enjoy the social occasion that is a hangi (where food is cooked in an underground oven), admire or purchase traditional Maori artworks (or even try a workshop to create your own!), or take a guided tours with a local guide for an insight into the land’s history and native flora and fauna.