We all know that The Māori are the local Polynesian people of New Zealand. But what is special about them? Reading our post exploring the fascinating Maori culture of New Zealand to find out.
The Origins – Maori Culture Of New Zealand
The Maori people of New Zealand come from Hawaiki, an island in East Polynesia.
In the 13th century, just by wooden boats, they sailed across the ocean to reside in a whole new land. They called the land Aotearoa which means the land of the long white cloud. The year 1840 witnessed a mixture of Maori culture and the British. This is because Maori chiefs and the British crown signed the Treaty of Waitangi.
In recent days, Maori culture still remains an essential part of the New Zealanders’ identity. Maori people account for about 15% of the population. Most of them live on the North Island, such as Auckland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty.
To maintain and honor this spirited culture, people held many Maori language courses and tourism experiences.
The Maori depict themselves according to their family tribe – whanau and follow traditions and beliefs inherited from their progenitors.
The Marae Meeting Place – Maori Culture Of New Zealand
Marae is a combined complex of sculpture buildings of each tribe. This hallowed area is where people assemble for traditional ceremonies, celebrations, and events.
The central building is the gathering house, called wharenui. There’s also an out-of-door space, such as a bathroom block and dining hall. They don’t live in the marae, they just stay there on certain occasions.
Maori Language – Te Reo
The Maori do have their own unique language. But it was hardly in the writing form. It only has been handed down verbally via the generations.
Te Reo is used by less than 4% of New Zealanders. But it is still alive through language programs like Kohanga Reo.
When traveling in New Zealand, you will see many Maori location’s names and greeting with sayings such as Haere Mai and Kia Ora. Their meanings are welcome and hello.
Maori Legend – Maori Culture Of New Zealand
Maori culture is full of legends and myths. These tales are passed on by seniors and aim to teach tribal faiths.
Guests may hear some of these stories in Maori tourism adventures. The legend of Paikea the Whale Rider and the love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai are some of the most famous tales.
But the actual famous Maori legend is the story about the mischievous god – Maui.
In this story, Maui was on his brother’s ship for a fishing trip. He then managed to grab the North Island on his fishing hook. If you look at the New Zealand map, you will notice that the North Island’s shape looks like a fish. The Wellington harbor is its mouth and the northern end is the tail.
Maori Arts And Tattoo
Maori people depict their history and myths through complicated artworks such as carvings, weavings, and paintings.
Tatoo is of the most visible art forms of the Maori. These black tribal markings represent an individual’s history, social status, and roots. People often apply tattoos to the holiest part of the body like the head, the face for men, and chins and lips for women.
The Haka And Poi – Maori Dance – Maori Culture Of New Zealand
This is another form to tell stories of Maori people. This also plays a crucial part in their ceremonies.
When performing the poi, women twirl a ball as they chant and dance on a chord.
The haka has created its reputation as a battle dance. Warriors used the haka on the battleground and performed it with weapons.
Nowadays, they use the Haka to show a tribe’s unity and power. The display consists of body slapping, loud chanting, stamping, hand fluttering, and aggressive facial expressions with eyes and tongues sticking out. The purpose of Haka is to welcome guests. It is a well-known global mark of Maori in particular and New Zealand culture in general.
Related Posts You Can Read:
Top 4 Ways to Visit the Maori Rocks in Ngatoroirangi Bay!
Interesting Traditions Only New Zealanders Know
The most interesting Maori legends and myths you should know