Top 6 Māori cultural experiences

Hongi - a traditional Māori greeting | Photo: Te Puia,

Waitangi Treaty Grounds | Photo:

Whakarewarewa | Photo:

Tamaki Māori Village | Photo:

Ko Tāne Māori cultural experience | Photo:

Waka on Avon | Photo:

Top 6 Māori cultural experiences

Māori culture is unique to New Zealand and the cornerstone of the country's cultural make-up. It is far more than just a tourist atraction, and gaining a respectful understanding of the culture is essential to experiencing Aotearoa New Zelaand. Here are our picks for some of the best places to visit and experience.

Te Puia, Rotorua

This brilliant blend of Māori culture and geothermal wonder allows you not only to catch outstanding Māori cultural performances and watch ancient Māori crafts being taught, but also to discover a geothermal and natural wonderland, and even get up close with kiwi. It's home to New Zealand’s official Māori cultural centre, The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, with profits used to nurture traditional Māori arts, including wood and pounamu (greenstone) carving, and flax weaving.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Northland

New Zealand’s most important historical site is the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the nation’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed between Māori and the British Crown in 1840. At the beautiful and historic site you can take in a guided tour and regular cultural performances along with carving demonstrations. There's also the Whare Waka Café, celebrating Aotearoa cuisine and serving up great coffee.

Whakarewarewa – The Living Māori Village, Rotorua

The Tūhourangi/Ngāti Wāhiao tribe have welcomed people to their home for over 200 years, and carry on that tradition of hospitality today at Whakarewarewa, where you can take a guided tour of the village, experience authentic cultural performances, stay overnight on the marae, eat a hāngi cooked in steaming geothermal waters or even receive a traditional Māori tattoo (tā moko) that tells your own unique story, all while viewing the geothermal wonders of the area.

Tamaki Māori Village, Rotorua

New Zealand’s most award-winning Māori cultural attraction recreates a Māori village on the outskirts of Rotorua within a natural forest environment. Their complete experience immerses you in the pre-European Māori way of life and all its sights and sounds, alongside cultural ceremonies and performances, and the hāngi. Overnight stays are also possible.

Ko tāne, Christchurch

Ko Tāne is an interactive encounter that gives visitors a look into Māori history and tradition. Starting with a Māori welcoming or pōwhiri, your experience continues into their interactive village, where you will be shown the tools and skills of the Māori hunter, cooking techniques, games they played and traditional musical instruments. Next you will be treated to a 45-minute kapa haka performance, including action songs, poi dances, haka, stick games and weapons displays. The final part of the visit is a hāngi-cooked dinner in their fully licensed restaurant.

Waka on Avon, Christchurch

Waka on the Ōtākaro Avon River is not something new. It's how Māori and early settlers built Christchurch, working together to transport bricks on waka from the corner of Barbadoes Street to Deans Cottage – one of the first buildings constructed in Christchurch through good will and coexistence of our two cultures. Waka are now back on the Avon, and you can join Waka on Avon to explore the river on traditional waka, and learn about the history and culture of the river and region.


See & Do, Culture

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