What Is Maori Culture


Discover Māori culture in New Zealand

The Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding political document, was signed in 1840 by representatives of the British crown as well as Mori chiefs and chiefs of other tribes. Following the signing of the treaty, the British population swiftly surpassed the Mori population in terms of size. For more than a century following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Pkeh culture dominated New Zealand society. The expectation was that Mori would assimilate to Pkeh culture. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Mori culture began to have a rebirth in popularity.

Māori culture in everyday life

In New Zealand, Mori culture plays an important role in everyday life. Since Te Reo Mori has been designated as an official language, it is common to hear it spoken, and many official place names are written in Mori. With a little practice, you may quickly acquire the right pronunciation of geographical names as well as some basic Mori words and phrases such as kia ora and other greetings. Tikanga, or Mori traditions, play a major role in everyday life as well. Manaakitanga is all about making people feel welcome and giving excellent service, something that many Kiwis take great delight in.

This attitude lies at the heart of the love and concern for the environment that many New Zealanders have for it.

Learn about Māori culture and traditions

A marae, which is a holy communal meeting area, is the greatest site to witness Mori culture in its full glory. A traditional Mori welcome may be found at marae in places like as Northland, Auckland, or Rotorua, where you can learn more about the culture. Additionally, you’ll be treated to Mori speeches and singing, as well as carved meeting homes, and you’ll be greeted by the villagers through the practice of hongi (nose-pressing). You’ll also be treated to an ahng feast prepared in earth ovens.

Many marae visits and Mori cultural tours include a kapa haka performance, with Rotorua in the North Island being the most well-known location for these displays.

10 Things to Know about New Zealand Māori Culture Before Studying Abroad

It is frequently stated that getting to know the people of a new nation is the most effective approach to become adjusted. This is especially true in New Zealand, and the greatest way to begin your exploration is by understanding more about the Mori, who have lived in the nation for thousands of years. The Mori people, often known as the indigenous Polynesian population of New Zealand, have a rich history that dates back to their arrival in the country in the early- to mid-1300s. More than three hundred years later, the Mori culture, which is rich in arts and history, remains an important element of New Zealand’s identity.

This is especially true when learning about Mori culture for the first time. Understanding Mori culture before traveling can enable you to be a more respectful traveler, therefore we’ve put up a list of ten things you should know about Mori culture before studying abroad in New Zealand.

1. Visiting a Marae is the best way to experience Māori culture

Maraes are tribal gathering places where you may engage with local Mori people and learn more about their culture and history firsthand. Maraes are filled with a variety of events, some of which include speeches and performances of traditional Mori singing and dancing. Please keep in mind that maraes are only accessible through guided excursions; you will not be able to just discover one on a map and get dropped off in a cab. Although there are various organized tour offers at reasonable pricing in major cities such as Northland, Auckland, Rotorua, and Canterbury, the good news is that they are available in many smaller towns as well.

2. You must be invited in order to enter a Marae

You might be wondering, if I’ve booked a trip to see the Marae, doesn’t that imply that I’m free to wander about freely? Well, that’s not precisely true. You must first be officially greeted by the Mori people in a traditional ritual known as thepowhiri, which takes place in their presence. Traditionally, the ritual begins with visitors being challenged by one of the Mori warriors in an act known as awero, which means “challenge.” While this may appear to be a frightening experience, it is actually not at all frightening.

As a student, we are certain that you will arrive in peace!

3. No two Māori tattoos are the same

However, despite the fact that tattoo application techniques have developed over time from chiseling to more updated needle procedures, tattoos have remained an important element of Mori culture from their inception, where they are referred to as “ta moko.” Tattoos, in particular, are thought to be a representation of their dedication to and respect for their cultural heritage. It’s a unique characteristic of the Maori art of tattooing because no two tattoos are exactly same, which is rather intriguing.

Inquiring about tattoos in a respectful manner is an excellent approach to make your education about Mori culture even more individualized.

4. Dance plays a big role in Māori culture

TheHaka, a traditional war dance of the Mori people that comprises of synchronized stomping and chanting paired with powerful physical gestures, is most likely something you’ve previously heard of. It turns out that there is a lot more to the popular dance style ofHakathan simply using it to scare rivals, as is commonly believed. In reality, the haka is frequently used to greet distinguished guests, to recognize major achievements, and to express respect at special celebrations or funerals. If you are given the opportunity to participate in aHakaa as part of your semester in New Zealand, you should take advantage of the opportunity.

5. Traditional Māori food is cooked underground

The Mori employ a unique cooking practice named ashangi, in which food is cooked in an underground pit, which is found alone in their culture. The hole where the hangi is cooked is frequently lined with hot pebbles, aluminum foil, or wire baskets to prevent the hangi from sticking. Fish and poultry, as well as several vegetables, are among the food varieties that are frequently prepared using thehangimethod. While hangingi may appear to be a simple technique of cooking, it is actually a time-consuming and physically demanding operation.

For the Mori, it is not just about the great cuisine that is prepared fromhangi, but also about the communal component, since it provides an opportunity for people to congregate for extended periods of time and share experiences.

6. The Māori people are often largely represented in New Zealand sports

Cooking in an underground pit is a unique cooking practice used by the Mori, and it is named ashangi. A hot rock, aluminum foil, or wire baskets are usually used to line the hole where the hangi is cooked. Fish and poultry, as well as several vegetables, are among the food varieties commonly prepared using thehangimethod. Hangi is a lengthy and laborious cooking procedure, despite its appearance of being straightforward. In addition to the excellent cuisine created fromhangi, for the Mori, it is also about the communal component because it provides an opportunity for people to get together for extended periods of time.

7. The traditional Māori language is not English

While the majority of New Zealanders speak English, the traditional language of the Mori people is known as Te Reo, which has a sound that is similar to Cook Islands Mori, Tuamotuan, and Tahitian. While the majority of New Zealanders speak English, the traditional language of the Mori people is known as Te Reo. Since 1987, Te Reo has now been recognized as one of New Zealand’s official languages, alongside English and Maori. It is interesting to note that the Mori people did not have a written language when European settlers came, and they had been transmitting their history and traditions orally for many years prior to that time.

It is common for students to study overseas in order to acquire a new language.

8. “Hand-” shakes are not the traditional form of greeting for Māori people

While it is natural to reach out your hand and give a solid handshake when meeting a new acquaintance, this is not the physical action that the Mori people employ to greet one another when greeting one another. If you plan to attend an event throughout your semester where you will be meeting Mori residents, try to keep your emotions under control. Instead, they employ thehongi, which is a far more personal and intimate way of greeting one another (not to be confused with thehangimethod of cooking).

It is intended to represent the merging of two souls in a single body.

9. Greenstone is considered treasure in Māori culture

Greenstone, also known as Pounamu by the Mori, is a “green stone” that may be found predominantly in rivers in portions of southern New Zealand, according to the Mori. Greenstone is extremely valuable to the Mori, and it is frequently passed down from generation to generation. Greenstone has been employed by the Mori in a variety of ways, and it may be found in goods like as spears, hooks, and other tools.

In today’s market, greenstone is available for purchase, and it is most frequently acquired in the form of jewelry or ornamental products. When you return home from your study abroad experience, this would be an excellent keepsake for yourself, your friends, and your family.

10. The Māori population is still highly prevalent in New Zealand

Maori are still heavily represented in New Zealand society, accounting for more than 14 percent of the total population today, according to official figures. According to the results of the most recent census, approximately 600,000 people residing in New Zealand are of Mori heritage, making them the country’s second-largest ethnic demographic group behind the Pasifika people. While the majority of New Zealand’s Mori community resides on the country’s northernmost island, there is a small Mori population in the country’s southernmost island, the South Island.

Studying abroad is an excellent chance to become immersed in a new culture – and in New Zealand, you can do so even more profoundly by studying Mori culture as well!

Māori Culture New Zealand, Māori Culture, Traditions and Tourism

In today’s New Zealand, Mori people may be found all around the country, and many of them are actively interested in preserving their culture and language. The marae serves as a focal point for social, cultural, and spiritual life of each Mori community, regardless of size. In New Zealand, a marae is a community ‘plaza’ area that comprises a wharenui (meeting house) and a wharekai (coffee shop) (dining room). Mori people distinguish themselves by their iwi (tribe), hapu (sub-tribe), maunga (mountain), and awa (place of origin) identifiers (river).

  • The establishment of Mori language nests (kohanga reo) in recent years has resulted in the revitalization of the Mori language.
  • This early immersion is furthered in primary and secondary schools with the inclusion of Mori in the curriculum.
  • Every piece of carving reveals a tale, which may be deciphered by those who are skilled in the art.
  • The ancient beliefs of Mori culture are recognized and revered by New Zealand’s political leaders today, despite the fact that they are thousands of years old.
  • The roading project would have encroached on a marsh that is home to a one-eyed taniwha known as Karutahi if it had been completed in its original form.

It has a second home in the Waikato River, where it goes swimming when the river is flooded. Transit New Zealand has revised its plans in order to guarantee that the marsh is not damaged and that this historic place is protected. Send an e-postcard with a message about Mori culture to your pals.

Māori Tourism

More than 130 years ago, native Mori guided tourists across the Central Plateau region of Aotearoa New Zealand, establishing the foundations of modern-day Mori tourism in the country. With a range of alternatives, you may now have a Mori experience to remember. Take a peek at our Mori Tourism section for more information. (more)

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Indigenous Culture

It is estimated that the Mori initially arrived in New Zealand about 1000 years ago in waka hourua (voyaging canoes) from their ancient country of Hawaiki. The Mori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Mori people now account for more than 14 percent of the population. There is a significant effect of their language and culture on many aspects of New Zealand life.

Rich and Varied

Mori culture is diverse and rich, and it encompasses both traditional and contemporary artistic expression. Throughout the country, traditional arts like as carving, weaving, kapa haka (group performance), whaikorero (oratory), and moko (tattoo) are practiced by people of all ages. The techniques utilized hundreds of years ago are replicated by practitioners who follow in the footsteps of their tipuna (ancestors), but they also invent intriguing new techniques and forms. Mori culture nowadays encompasses art, cinema, television, poetry, theater, and hip-hop, among other things.

Stories and Legends

It is an oral culture, full of stories and legends, that defines the Mori people. The Mori creation tale tells of the world being established as a result of the violent separation of Ranginui, the Sky Father, and Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother, by their offspring, leading to the formation of the universe. This conflict is shown graphically in a number of Mori sculptures and artworks. (more)

The Haka

In the mists of time, the origins of the haka may be traced back thousands of years. That past is rich in mythology and legend, and it is influenced by Mori tradition. Since the earliest meetings between Mori and early European explorers, missionaries, and settlers, New Zealanders have grown up steeped in the haka tradition. (more)

Te Reo Māori – the Māori Language

Because the great majority of place names in New Zealand are of Mori origin, any visitor to the country will be immediately aware of the Mori language upon arrival. At first glance, visitors may be perplexed by the names, which appear to be difficult to speak. In reality, Mori has a logical structure and, unlike English, has fairly constant norms of pronunciation, which distinguishes it from other languages. What is the correct way to pronounce Onehunga, Whangamomona, Kahikatea, and Nguru? There are just five vowel sounds in Mori, which are as follows: (a) car, e egg, I (like the ee in ttee), o (called or), and u (like the o in to).

There are eight consonants in Mori that are comparable to those in English: ‘h’, ‘k’,’m’, ‘n’, ‘p’, ‘r’, ‘t’, and ‘w’.

‘Wh’ and ‘ng’ are two separate consonants that can be found in the word.

Kia ora = Good morning! A visitor’s attempt to utilize Mori greetings will very probably be greeted with joy by both Mori and Pakeha (European) New Zealanders if they are successful.

  • Kia ora – Greetings
  • Greetings, everyone
  • Kia ora tatou (Good day, everyone). Tena koe – Greetings to you (said to a single individual)
  • Tena koutou – Greetings to each and every one of you
  • Welcome
  • Nau mai – Welcome
  • Haere mai – Welcome
  • Is it true that you’re a pehea koe? – How are things going? Kei te pai – Good
  • Tino pai – Excellent
  • Tino pai – Outstanding
  • ‘Haere ra’ means ‘goodbye.’ In the meanwhile, till I see you again (Bye), Ka kite ano Hei konei ra – I’ll see you in a little

Māori Protocol

Mori, being a tribal Polynesian people, have their own set of rules and regulations. The ideal place to witness it is on a marae (Maori gathering grounds), which is where it originated. Visits to marae are organized by a large number of travel organizations in New Zealand.

Welcome to the Powhiri

Mori, being a Polynesian tribe, have its own set of rules and regulations. One of the greatest places to witness it is on the grounds of a marae (Maori gathering place). Visits to marae are organized by a large number of travel companies in New Zealand.

Whaikorero – Speeches of Welcome

As soon as people enter the wharenui (meeting house) on the marae, greetings are exchanged and whaikorero (speeches) are delivered. Waiata (songs) may be sung to emphasize the good wishes expressed during the speeches. In most cases, the manuhiri will next deliver a koha (gift) to the tangata whenua after greeting the hosts with an hongi (the traditional touching of noses), which signifies their acceptance of the invitation. It is acceptable to exchange kai (food) following the powhiri.

Fishing Up An Island

The tale of Maui tells the story of how New Zealand came to be created. This deity was a cunning trickster who, among other things, was able to harness the sun’s energy in order to extend the length of the days. However, his most well-known achievement was his fishing expedition up the North Island, which is referred to as Te Ika a Maui (the fish of Maui). An aerial map of the North Island will reveal how closely it resembles a fish when viewed from above. Mori think that the far northern reaches of the country are the tail of the fish, and that Wellington Harbour symbolizes the mouth.


a member of the Polynesian people of New Zealand known as the Mori

Traditional history and first contact

Their traditional history portrays their beginnings as a series of waves of migration that culminated in the arrival of a “great fleet” in the 14th century fromHawaiki, a legendary region that is widely identified as Tahiti, which brought them to their current location. According to archaeological discoveries, Mori first arrived in New Zealand around 1300CE, which provides the foundation for traditional Mori social organization. This historical account is generally supported by archaeological discoveries, which have placed the arrival of Mori in New Zealand around 1300CE.

Traditionally, thehapa (subtribe), which was the principal landholding group and the one within which marriage was desired, and thewhnau, or extended family, were the most significant social groupings at the day-to-day level.

He fought with a troop of Mori in the South Island and left the area mostly untouched after the war.

The Mori initially welcomed whalers, sealers, and other Europeans looking to make a profit in their trade.

The arrival of muskets, sickness, Western agricultural practices, and missionaries, on the other hand, resulted in the disintegration of Moriculture and social structure. Thousands of European settlers flocked to New Zealand in the late 1830s as part of the European Union’s expansion.

The rise of theKing Movement

Their traditional history portrays their beginnings as a series of waves of migration that culminated in the arrival of a “great fleet” in the 14th century fromHawaiki, a legendary region that is widely identified as Tahiti, which brought them to their present location. This historical account serves as the foundation for traditional Mori social organization, and it is generally supported by archaeological discoveries, which have placed the arrival of Mori in New Zealand around the year 1300 ce.

  1. They acknowledged a shared lineage, which could be traced back to either or both parents, as well as a common allegiance to a chief or chiefs among their own tribe (iwi) (ariki).
  2. When Abel Tasman, the first European encounter with New Zealand, landed off the coast of the country in December 1642, this social system was in place.
  3. James Cook circumnavigated the two largest islands in 1769–1770, during which time he recorded his observations on their intellect, as well as the potential of New Zealand as a colonization destination.
  4. The arrival of muskets, sickness, Western agricultural practices, and missionaries, on the other hand, resulted in the disintegration of Mori culture and social structure.

Māori versus Pākehā

The British forces and militia conducted a series of mostly successful sieges of Morip s (fortified settlements) throughout the conflict, which was the primary objective. After a surprise counterattack on Puketakauerep in June 1860, the British were beaten, but the Mori were defeated at Rongomai in October and Maahoetahi in November, putting an end to the British campaign in New Zealand. In late March 1861, with the capitulation of the Te Areipa, the conflict came to a conclusion in a truce. The Mori were still in ownership of the Tataraimaka piece of land, which had previously been possessed by Europeans.

  • Even as war erupted on the Taranaki frontier once more in July 1863, the Waikato War began, with European forces focusing their attention on Waikato Riverregion, which was home to the King Movement tribes and the major target of the Europeans.
  • Gunboats and forest ranger squads made up of colonial volunteers supported the British forces in their campaign.
  • After the fall of the Orakaup in early April 1864, it was deemed that the Waikato War had come to a conclusion.
  • Hostilities erupted throughout nearly the whole northernmost tip of the island.
  • The British administration desired to bring the war to a close in 1864, but the colonial authority, eager to gain additional territory, decided to prolong it and accept an increasing part of the fighting.
  • Each fresh attempt by the King Movement tribes was met with resistance from European and allied Mori forces (which became increasingly numerous after 1862).

In the period 1868-1872, members of a new warrior cult, Ringat, created and headed by a guerilla commander named Te Kooti, joined the Hauhau to form a new fighting force.

The Maori People

Humans did not inhabit New Zealand until around A.D. 800, almost 1,200 years ago. The first people to arrive there were Pacific Islanders, who traveled the seas in giant canoes. Using the stars, sun, and sea currents to navigate and find land, they traveled from island to island. Over a period of 500 years many canoes brought people to Aotearoa, “The Land of the Long White Cloud,” as New Zealand was then called. On Colin’s journey he met the descendants of those seagoing travelers, who are now known as Maoris. The Maoris believe in gods which represented the sky, earth, forests, and forces of nature. The Maori people also believe that the spirits of their ancestors could be called upon to help them in times of need or war. The Maori culture is rich with songs, art, dance, and deep spiritual beliefs.In Auckland and Rotorua, Colin met experts in the Maori culture and way of life.Trek Update Colin visited Te Whaiti in the Whirinaki Forest, south of Rotorua, and Otaki, where there is a Maori university and several maraes, or Maori meeting places.Want to learn more about the Maori people? Visit theseMaori Web sitesto find out about their history, music, dance, art, and myths and legends. Plus, learn a few Maori words, aided by the online Maori-English dictionary.Top of Page

Maori Culture

The Maori are New Zealand’s indigenous population and are known as the “Maori people.” They are Polynesians, and they account for around 15 percent of the country’s total population. Te Reo Maori is their original language, which is connected to both Tahitian and Hawaiian languages, and it is also their national anthem. A migration of Maori people from other parts of Polynesia to New Zealand is estimated to have taken place between the 9th and 13th centuries AD.

European Contact

Abel Tasman, a Dutch sailor, was the first European to come into contact with the Maori. In 1642, he and his crew were engaged in a terrible battle that claimed the lives of four of them. It was in 1769 when the British explorer James Cook made amicable contact with a group of Maoris. By 1800, visits by European ships to New Zealand had become more regular, resulting in a significant increase in the number of Maori deaths as a result of sickness.

The Musket Wars

Maori tribal battles, known as the Musket Wars, which lasted between 1807 and 1842, posed a far larger danger to the indigenous people. Approximately 500 conflicts between Maori tribes took place during this period, resulting in a high toll on each tribe’s population. The Maori also assaulted and nearly exterminated another indigenous group known as theMoriori, effectively wiping them out. Immediately following the Musket Wars, there was a period of relative calm until 1845, when the New Zealand Wars erupted as a result of land disputes, and they lasted until 1872.

Following these conflicts and the resulting death toll from illness, the Maori population fell to a low of 100,000 people or approximately, according to some estimates.

Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 by representatives of the United Kingdom and Maori leaders. Although this treaty recognized Maori land rights, it established British sovereignty over New Zealand and awarded the Maori citizenship, as well as recognizing Maori rule over the country. Some of the treaty’s provisions are still in effect today in disputes over land confiscation that have resulted in the restitution of land and/or a cash compensation to the parties involved.

Maori Origins

There are a variety of hypotheses on the origins of the Maori people. According to their own mythology, the Maori originated in “Hawaiki,” the ancient homeland of the Hawaiians. Some believe that the island of Hawaiki may be close to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. In general agreement, the Maori moved to New Zealand over a lengthy period of time, according to the most widely recognized explanation. Following a route that began in China and continued through Taiwan and the Philippines to Indonesia, Melanesian countries such as Fiji and Samoa, then south-west to Tahiti and the Cook Islands, until ultimately landing in New Zealand some 1000 years ago.

This land was given the name Aotearoa, which may be translated as ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’ by the Maori people.

Maori Arrival

When the Maori first arrived in Aotearoa, they found themselves in a region that was quite different from tropical Polynesia. Not only was New Zealand colder, but it was also far larger in size than any of the other South Pacific islands they met. In fact, New Zealand is larger than the combined area of all of the other Polynesian islands combined. In addition, there was a great deal of variety in geography and climate. When they arrived, they were greeted by lush forests and lengthy coasts. They did, however, come to high hilly terrain covered with snow.

  • The Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island are 600 kilometers long and equivalent in size to the European Alps in terms of elevation.
  • Both islands are also home to large lakes and are covered in lush forest, which makes for a beautiful combination.
  • The Maori may have discovered Aotearoa by chance or luck, according to some scholars, as a result of the country’s severe geographical isolation.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, there is a tiny amount of evidence that the Maori had a comprehensive understanding of the stars and ocean currents, which enabled them to employ them as a navigational aid.
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Maori Genealogy

When it comes to Maori genealogy, the phrase “Whakapapa” is commonly employed. “Papa” does not refer to a parent in the traditional sense, but rather to anything broad, flat and hard in nature, such as a flat rock, for example. As a result, whakapapa means to layer, and this is how different orders of generations are perceived in different contexts and contexts. One after the other. A descendant is referred to in Maori as uri, and its specific meaning is “offspring or issue.”

Maori Traditions

Prior to the arrival of the Pakeha (non-Maori) in New Zealand, all Maori literature was passed down orally from generation to generation. This comprised a large number of tales and waiata (song). Despite the fact that certain stories are also presented through the carvings that cover their wharehouse (houses).


It was oral tradition that all Maori literature was passed down to consecutive generations before to the arrival of the Pakeha (non-Maori). A large number of tales and waiatas were included in this collection (song). Despite the fact that certain stories are also presented through the carvings that cover their whare (houses).


A powhiri is the term used to describe the traditional Maori greeting. This involves an hongi, which is a type of greeting in which you push noses together rather than kissing.


Powhiri is the name given to the traditional Maori greeting.

Instead of kissing, the hongi greeting is used, which is a pressing of the nostrils.


The beautiful face tattoos that are a key component of Maori culture are yet another distinguishing trait. It was and continues to be mostly a male-dominated practice known as “moko.” moko’s female manifestations were confined to the chin, the upper lip, and, on rare occasions, the nasal passages. Today, the moko continues to exist because a growing number of Maori choose to get it in an effort to connect more deeply with their cultural identity and in an effort to maintain their cultural traditions.


The beautiful face tattoos that are a key component of Maori culture are another notable characteristic. Male-dominated behavior known as “moko” was and continues to be the norm. It was believed that female variants of moko were only seen in certain parts of the chin region, upper lip, and occasionally the nose. It is still in use today, as a rising number of Maori choose to get it as a means of connecting deeper with their cultural identity and preserving the traditions of their forebears.

Maori Culture, Traditions, History, Information, New Zealand

The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, often known as ortangata whenua. Historically, the Maori people may be traced back to the islands of Eastern Polynesia, from where they traveled to New Zealand in canoes hundreds of years ago, according to historical records. The Maori culture, which is rich in history and mythology, is a vital aspect of New Zealand civilization and should not be overlooked. Maori tourism is a thriving sector in New Zealand, having a strong presence on the North Island and across the country.

It is possible to participate in traditional dances, visit a local marae, and much more.

Maori Culture

Kapa Haka is a Maori type of performance art. Becky Nunes is the owner of the copyright. ( Their culture is rich, rooted in history and folklore, and it is known as the Maori way of life. By recounting stories, legends are passed down from generation to generation, including those relating to New Zealand’s origins and the construction of the islands, among other things. Traditionally, maraes (communal “plaza” areas where the Maori people gather) have served as a focal point for the social, cultural, and spiritual life of the Maori people.

  1. Maori people identify with their tribe, which they refer to as oriwi.
  2. Dance is a highly significant aspect of the Maori people’s culture, and they do it frequently.
  3. Each movement in the dance has a symbolic significance that connects it to the lyrics.
  4. The importance of land in Maori culture cannot be overstated.
  5. The art of Whakairo (carving) is considered to be both an art form and a way of communication in Maori culture.

Because every form, pattern, and line in a carving has significance, tales and history may be passed down from one generation to the next through carvings. Visitors to a marae are greeted by this ancestral figure carved onto an archway.

Maori Language

Archway with carvings. Small World Productions owns the copyright. Treo is the indigenous Maori language, which is spoken by the indigenous Maori people. Te Reo (New Zealand’s indigenous language) is recognized as an official language alongside Sign Language, despite English being the most frequently spoken and de facto language in the country. In the 1970s, there was widespread concern that Te Reo Maori was on the verge of extinction as a language, and a campaign to revive it was launched. The Mori Language Act, which was brought into law in 1987, recognized Te Reo Maori as an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand and designated it as such.

Te Mtwai was formed by this legislation to spearhead the revitalization of Mori language and culture on behalf of iwi and Mori.

Te Reo Maori is now taught alongside English in the vast majority of schools in New Zealand.

Maori History

On their marae, they have four generations. James Heremaia is the owner of the copyright () The Maori are thought to be the indigenous people of New Zealand, having arrived in the country on canoes thousands of years ago from Polynesia. The “Great Fleet” was the name given to this particular occurrence. The Maori are a group of Polynesians who arrived in New Zealand and became known as the Maori. They developed a distinct culture, language, and traditions of their own. The Maori hunted a wide range of birds and fish that they could find across New Zealand, with a preference for the warmer climes of the North and South Islands.

The Treaty of Waitangi, which was drafted and signed by many Maori chiefs in 1840, granted the British monarchy control over sections of New Zealand to the British crown.

The Maori were under the impression that they still had ownership rights to their land.

New Zealand’s Maori Culture: A Guide for Travelers

The most recent update was made on December 4, 2020, which is December 4th, 2020. Since watching the movieWhale Rider (which happens to be one of my favorite travel movies), I’ve been captivated with Maori culture and customs. It’s because of their history, unique tattoos, dancing, beliefs, and overall easygoing nature that I find them incredibly intriguing. Because they are New Zealand’s indigenous people, they have not fared well since European settlers arrived in the country. After all, no indigenous community has fared well since the arrival of the Europeans.

The History of the Maori

The Maori are a warrior people that are renowned for having never been conquered by the English immigrants throughout their time in New Zealand. A truth that the proud Maori take tremendous pride in and are always willing to impart. The Maori first arrived in New Zealand in the 13th century, having migrated from Polynesia. They arrived in waves, having started out in big ocean-going canoes ranging in length from 20 to 40 meters in length when they first arrived. Over time, they established settlements on the islands, subsisting on the copious natural resources.

Contact eventually resulted in strife — even internal disagreements among the Maori people themselves.

In addition, disease took its toll.

At the moment, there are around 600,000 Maori living in New Zealand, accounting for approximately 15 percent of the population.

Even now, as compared to other ethnic groups in the country, the Maori people continue to experience social and economic disadvantages, as well as having a shorter life expectancy.

Interesting Facts About the Maori

I found the following information on the Maori intriguing and it sparked my interest in learning more about the people and their history:

  • The Maori language is referred to as “Te Reo” (but it is frequently referred to as “Maori” in English). From the 1860s to the present, it was the main language in New Zealand. An ancient Maori dance called as a “Haka” (which you’ll see performed at the cultural event) would take place before combat. The Maori did not have a written language until the arrival of the Europeans. It was via oral tradition that their history and traditions were handed along. Tattooing has an important role in Maori culture. Tattoos were formerly used to represent a person’s social standing or position. Traditional Maori cuisine (known as “Hangi”) is cooked underground over a long period of time using geothermal geysers, which are abundant across New Zealand. In order to gain entry to the Maori meeting site (“Marae”), you must first be greeted with a “Powhiri.” This consists of a warrior challenging the participants, as well as chanting and singing. Visitors would be required to demonstrate that they are arriving in good faith in order to be admitted

Where to See Maori Cultural Show in New Zealand

The city of Rotorua is the ideal site to attend a Maori cultural performance. Here, you may not only see some incredible cultural performances, but you can also visit some traditional villages and take a tour of the geysers that dot the terrain. Due to its significance in Maori culture and history, this is an excellent location to learn more and watch a performance. During my vacation, I was keen to learn more about them and their culture while traveling across the country. The city of Rotorua is reputed to be one of the greatest places in the world to learn new things.

  1. A Maori at the Bay of Islands even informed me that if I wanted to learn about the Maori culture, here would be the best place for me to do so because it was the most accessible.
  2. I chose the Tamaki Maori Village trip since it was being offered at the same time as my other travel companions at the time.
  3. It’s simply an interesting introduction to how they have lived and survived over the course of the last few hundred years or so.
  4. It’s routinely regarded as not just one of the top programs in the country, but also one of the best shows in the world, according to critics.
  5. The cost of the tickets is NZD 110 per person.
  6. While the cultural presentation was intriguing, the food was delicious, and the music was amusing, if you truly want to acquire a deeper understanding of Maori culture, you should also visit the Rotorua Museum.
  7. Despite the fact that it is now closed for refurbishment, they nevertheless provide tours and activities.
  8. In normal circumstances, there are multiple performances each day; however, until the epidemic is over, there will only be three performances per week, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 12:15pm.
  9. It’s the same type of experience, and the majority of folks agree that it’s just as excellent as Tamaki in terms of quality.
  10. If you are unable to attend a cultural performance in Rotorua, try going to one in Auckland or the Bay of Islands instead.
  11. Another excellent venue to learn more about the history and culture of the Maori is Te Papa Tongarewa, which is located in Wellington.

They are closely intertwined with New Zealand’s past, current, and future histories. Your knowledge of them will grow in depth and comprehension as you get a better grasp of your host nation.

Book Your Trip to New Zealand: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Make a Reservation for Your Flight When looking for a low-cost flight, consider usingSkyscanner orMomondo. Both of these search engines are among my favorites since they scan websites and airlines all over the world, so you can be assured that no stone will be left unturned. First and foremost, start with Skyscanner, because they have the most reach! Make a Reservation for Your Accommodation Because they offer the largest inventory and the most competitive prices, you should book your hostel through Hostelworld.

The following are some of my favorite hostels in New Zealand.

Travel insurance will protect you against a variety of risks, including illness, accident, theft, and cancellations of plans.

Given that I’ve had to use it on several occasions in the past, I never travel without it.

  • Safety Wing (for those under the age of 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those above the age of 70)
  • Medjet (for supplementary repatriation coverage)
  • And other services.

Looking for the best companies to work with in order to save money? Check out my resource page to find out which firms are the finest to utilize when traveling. All of the strategies I employ to conserve money while traveling are listed here. They will also help you save money when you are traveling. Do you want to know more about New Zealand? Make sure to check out our comprehensive destination guide to New Zealand for even more helpful planning advice! Do you have something to say about this article?

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Disclosure: Please keep in mind that some of the links above may be affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage

MOW-ree is a pronounciation used in New Zealand. MAORI; ENGLISH; APPROXIMATE POPULATION:525,000LANGUAGE:Maori; English RELIGION: Christianity, as well as indigenous Maori beliefs focused on ancestor adoration


The forefathers of the present-day Maori established a Polynesian outpost on the North and South islands of New Zealand, which is still in existence today. Until 1769, they were able to maintain a high degree of independence from outside influences. Captain James Cook (1728–1799), an English sailor and explorer, established the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand in the same year. As a result, Maori culture would undergo a significant transformation in less than a century. In 1840, over 500 Maori chiefs signed the so-called Treaty of Waitangi with the British government, which became known as the Treaty of Waitangi.

  1. The British, on the other hand, subsequently acquired Maori territory and forced the inhabitants to relocate to reserves.
  2. Since World War II (1939–45), the government’s policy toward Maoris have been more supportive.
  3. As part of a settlement with the Maoris, which included land and cash worth $117 million and the return of certain traditional fishing rights, the government agreed to a settlement with the Maoris in October 1996.
  4. As of 1997, the Maori population of New Zealand totaled around 525,000 individuals, accounting for approximately 15 percent of the country’s overall population.

The name “Maori” refers to a variety of different tribal and subtribal groupings that are quite unique from one another and from one another’s cultures.


The Maori people still live in the islands of New Zealand, which are their ancestral home. Located between two islands, New Zealand is divided into two regions: the North Island and the South Island. The landscape in the North Island is hilly, with some flat and rolling sections. The South Island is bigger and more mountainous than the North Island. Prior to the appearance of people on either island, both islands were thickly covered with forest. Traditional Maori and archaic Maori are the two lineages of Maori that archaeologists distinguish between.

They were reliant on the moa, a big, flightless bird that they killed to oblivion before becoming extinct.

The traditional Maori are thought to have come to the North Island about the fourteenth century, according to historical records.

Maori refugees had fled to the area in order to avoid fighting and the demands of heavy tribute (taxes).


The Maori language is a member of the Tahitic branch of the Eastern Polynesian language family. (Eastern Polynesian, in turn, is a subset of the larger Austronesian language family.) The Maori language was divided into two distinct dialects prior to European colonization of New Zealand: North Island Maori and South Island Maori, both of which are now extinct. The Maori of today communicate in English. Maori activism has resulted in the rapid proliferation of Maori language preschools throughout Australia, which have sprung up across the country at an alarming rate.


Traditionally, Maori legend tells the story of the first pair, Rangi (sky) and Papa (earth). Until the deity Tane was able to separate them and allow for the genesis of human existence, these two were destined to be together in sexual union. Maori folklore is based on oppositions between pairs of things, such as the ground and the sky, life and death, and male and female, amongst other things.


Many Maori are now Christian, just as many other New Zealanders are (primarily Anglican, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic). Until they came into touch with other civilizations, Maori religion was founded on the essential principles of mana and tapu. Mana is an impersonal power that may be inherited as well as gained by humans during the course of a person’s life. Tapu is a sacredness that is ascribed to a person based on their social rank at birth. A direct relationship existed between the two: chiefs with the most mana were also the chiefs with the most tapu.

The veneration of ancestors was significant in traditional religion.


The majority of Maori now are Christian, much as the rest of New Zealand (primarily Anglican, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic). Until the arrival of alien cultures, Maori religion was founded on the essential principles of mana and tapu. It is an impersonal energy that may be inherited as well as acquired by individuals during the course of a person’s life. At the time of birth, a sacredness was allocated to the individual according on his or her social standing.

This relationship was direct: chiefs who had the most mana also possessed the greatest amount of tapu. In this generic Polynesian term and notion of a mysterious superhuman force, the English word “taboo” is derived. Traditional religion placed a high value on ancestor worship.


Modern Maori rites of passage are quite similar to those observed by other New Zealanders under comparable circumstances. On occasion, some Maori traditions are still observed and practiced at specific events. At weddings, for example, it is customary for a relative of the groom to challenge the father of the bride to a duel in the reception hall. Following that, the bride’s father approaches the challenger, who is instead warmly welcomed. A procedure known as “secondary burial” was historically used by the Maori, according to anthropologists.

Once the body had been wrapped in mats and deposited in a cave, tree, or ground, it would be cremated, which took many days.

A second time of grief was observed while the bodies were transported from village to hamlet.


Maoris nowadays, like the rest of New Zealanders, tend to address one another casually and place a strong emphasis on friendship in their interpersonal connections. By the 1990s, Maori customs—practices that existed before the Maoris came into touch with other cultures—were being treated with less respect. One such Maori habit, known as hakari (feasting), was a significant part of Maori culture and history. The Maori feasts brought together a diverse range of various families and other social groupings to share in the festivities.

  1. The eventual result would be that he and his family would be left with very little in terms of material goods and food reserves.
  2. When it came to Maori youths, premarital sexual encounters were regarded natural.
  3. When Maori ladies began to engage in sexual activity, they were expected to come forward and publicly declare it in order to be tattooed.
  4. It was also regarded as being incredibly appealing and sexual in nature.
  5. It is thought that their spirits will come together as a result of this act.


Today, the Maori population of New Zealand is concentrated in metropolitan areas, accounting for 80 percent of the population. They did, however, spend the most of their time in rural regions until the 1920s. As a result, Maori housing now tends to be similar to that of other metropolitan New Zealand residents. Canoes were traditionally used by Maoris who lived in coastal locations to travel. Single-hulled canoes, as well as enormous double-hulled canoes, were among the vessels used.

Waka tauawere enormous Maori war boats that were propelled by both sail and paddles to achieve great speed and distance. Traveling nowadays, like with the rest of New Zealand, is accomplished through the use of contemporary road, rail, river, and air transportation.


The fact that the majority of Maoris live in metropolitan industrialized regions means that their family lives are comparable to those of other urban New Zealanders. Marriages between Maoris and Pakehas (the Maori name for Europeans) are rather prevalent in the United Kingdom. Most Maoris have Pakeha cousins or other Pakeha relatives, which is a common occurrence. Maori homes may contain relatives other than the nuclear family, such as grandparents, uncles, and aunts, in addition to the nuclear family.

For purposes of the Maori system, a person’s brothers, as well as the men who are related to them on both the mother and the father’s sides, would all be referred to as “brother.” “Sister” is also used to refer to a person’s sister, as well as any female cousins of the same gender.


Maoris are known for dressing in contemporary Western fashion. They do, however, continue to dress in their traditional clothes on certain events. Traditional Maori dress was among the most ornate and elaborate to be seen elsewhere in Polynesia. Cloaks with intricate designs were a necessary piece of clothing for those of high social standing in Maori culture at the time. Tattooing was exceedingly popular and highly significant among the Maori people, who had a well established system. There were two procedures used to produce Maori face tattoos.

The other method included using a chisel-like device to carve permanent grooves into the skin of the face.

In Maori society, tattooing was also done on females.

Designs were painted on the chin and the corners of the lips.


Maoris generally consume the same kind of meals as the rest of New Zealanders do. Eggs, sasage, and bacon are the staples of the morning meal. Lunch could consist of a meat pie or a sandwich. Dinner is a complete meal, with the main course consisting of a meat dish. The traditional Polynesian meals of taro (a starchy root), yams, and breadfruit were not well suited for growth on the temperate islands of New Zealand because they were not well acclimated to the climate there. Thehangi is arguably the most well-known Maori culinary heritage.

A hole is made in the earth and then filled with rocks to create a pit.

For many hours, the meal is allowed to steam on the stovetop.


For the majority of urban Maori, public schooling has now become the standard. A number of pre-schools centered on Maori cultural education have also been created in various locations around the country. Between the ages of six and fifteen, education is both encouraged and mandated by the government in New Zealand.

Students who intend to attend one of the country’s six universities must complete their secondary school till they are seventeen or eighteen years old before they may enroll. It is at this period that they sit for university qualifying examinations.


It is one of the most well-known cultural practices in Polynesia that the Maori perform their hakadance. A music is played in the background, as well as clapping hands, stomping feet, and slapping thighs, which serve to produce body percussion. There is a lead vocal line and a chorus that replies to the lead vocal line of the leader. The dance itself consists of powerful postures that are meant to reflect warlike and aggressive postures. Maori chanting is governed by a set of extremely rigorous regulations that govern its performance, rhythmic structure, and continuity.

Genealogies (family lines) and the accomplishments of ancestors are frequently recounted in these chants.


Maoris now are employed in the same sorts of vocations and professions that can be found in any urbanized industrial economy, including the government. Approximately two-thirds are employed in the service industry (jobs that directly serve the public). Traditional Maori culture resulted in a high degree of specialization in the workforce. Tattoo artists, canoe builders, home builders, and carvers were all categorized astohungain Maori, as were other types of craftspeople. This term conveys a sense of reverence, and the best translation into English is “priest.” These artists paid devotion to the deities associated with their particular trades.

All craftsmen were descended from chiefly lineages in ancient Maori society, which was the source of their inspiration.


Rugby and cricket are the national sports of New Zealand, which shares this distinction with its neighbor Australia. In New Zealand, Maori boys and men engage in and watch rugby matches, which are broadcast on television. Traditional competitions among males in Maori society emphasized violence, and also served as a training ground for real-life disputes.


The modern Maori have developed a taste for video, television, and motion pictures. They have also taken on the role as makers of their own stories in various media outlets. The Maori have done this in order to preserve their traditional storytelling and dance performances, which serve as both cultural archives and entertainment for the community.


The Maori of New Zealand are excellent artists who work in a variety of media. Among those who are familiar with Maori carving and sculpture are collectors and members of the general public. A tradition of figurative painting may be traced back to the late nineteenth century in their country as well. Sub-tribes of the Maori people each have their own distinct creative styles. In traditional Maori architecture, enormous meeting halls were adorned with intricately carved façade depicting figures of their forefathers and foremothers.


In current Maori society, urban inhabitants constitute the great bulk of the population. The Maori people continue to suffer from the social challenges that come with living in metropolitan areas under difficult economic conditions.

In certain metropolitan regions, the unemployment rate among Maori is more than 50%. Once Were Warriors (1994) offers a Maori viewpoint on societal issues such as alcoholism, domestic abuse, and underemployment or unemployment. Once Were Warriors is a documentary film about Maori warriors.


Russell Bishop is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Art and culture of the Maori people. The British Museum Press published this book in London in 1996. A. Gell’s Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia is available online. The Clarendon Press, Oxford, published this book in 1993. Kayleen M. Hazlehurst’s Political Expression and Ethnicity: Statecraft and Mobilisation in the Maori World is a book that she has written. Praeger Publishing Company, Westport, Connecticut, 1993.

The Aryan Maori are indigenous to New Zealand.

McMillan Publishers, Papakura, New Zealand, 1984.

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