Maori Culture

Words: Tourism NZ
Pics: Roderick Eime

Maori are the tangata whenua (indigenous people of the land) of New Zealand and their culture is an integral part of New Zealand life. About 15% of the country’s population of 3.8 million is of Maori descent. Maori are a tribal people and their tribes are known as iwi.

Visitors to New Zealand are presented with many opportunities to experience Maori culture first-hand. Best known of these is the geo-thermal region of Rotorua in the North Island, where tourists can enjoy Maori kai (food) cooked on hot stones underground as part of a traditional hangi. They can also enjoy a Maori powhiri (welcome), visit local marae (meeting houses), listen to kapa haka (traditional performances of song and dance) and relax in the popular thermal pools. Maori culture forms the basis of New Zealand culture and is the essence of its society.

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