Experiencing Māori culture

Te Puia, Rotorua | Photo: Fraser Clements, Tourism New Zealand

Experiencing Māori culture

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.

Marae visits The marae (meeting place) is a central element of Māori culture. Visits must be arranged through a guide, who will brief you on correct protocol.

Cultural performances Based on traditional arts but incorporating contemporary elements, kapa haka is a popular performance art combining theatre and song.

Hangi The hangi is a social occasion where food is cooked in an underground oven: a hole is dug and the food (such as potatoes, pork and kumara) is placed in woven baskets and buried with hot rocks, so the meal cooks in its own steam.

Guided tours Māori people have a spiritual relationship with the natural environment. Go walking with a local guide for an insight into the land’s history and native flora and fauna.

Replica villages See how New Zealand’s tangata whenua (people of the land) lived in pre-colonial times, join in a hangi and watch performance art.

Arts & crafts Māori have developed powerful artistic forms, such as carving and weaving. You can admire stunning examples in museums, or see magnificently carved meeting houses and traditional canoes, or waka. Join a workshop to create your own work of art.

Māori Culture Around the Country

As a nation, New Zealand embraces the Māori element of its culture, and in recent decades there has been a resurgence of Māori language and culture.

Waitangi National Trust [Northland] Site of the Treaty of Waitangi signing in 1840.

Auckland Museum [Auckland] Over 2,000 Māori artefacts including the last great war canoe.

Hell’s Gate [Rotorua] Healing waters and mud used for over 700 years.

Te Puia [Rotorua] Māori artists at work and guided geothermal tour.

Whakarewarewa Thermal Village [Rotorua] Living village in a thermal heritage area.

Tamaki Māori Village [Rotorua] Traditional food and performance.

The Rotorua Museum of Art & History [Rotorua] History of Te Arawa Māori and Mount Tarawera eruption.

Waimarama Māori Tours at Hakikino [Hawke’s Bay] Cultural experience on ancestral lands.

Puke Ariki [Taranaki] Museum, info centre and library.

Te Papa [Wellington] Interactive displays of Māori culture and history.

Pataka [Wellington] World-class exhibitions of Māori art and culture.

Māori Tours Kaikōura [Kaikōura] Local Māori introduce visitors to the region’s history.

Ko Tane – The Māori Experience [Canterbury] Cultural experience, replica village and dining.

Kiwi Haka [Queenstown] Live show by a kapa haka group.

Check out our top 6 Maori cultural experiences.


See & Do, NZ Info

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