July 2016: Māori cultural experiences

Māori are the tangata whenua, the indigenous people, of Aotearoa (New Zealand), who arrived here more than 1000 years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki.

Waitangi, Northland
Māori history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.

Visitors to New Zealand can experience Māori culture by visiting a marae (tribal meeting ground) with an organised tour, watching a carving or weaving demonstration or learning about fascinating myths and legends from passionate Māori guides. The earthen oven feast known as a hāngi is a highlight of many tours.

See below for a journey from north to south, on which your clients can meet Māori people and experience their culture, history, art, food and performance.


The Auckland region is full of magical stories both ancient and modern and it’s easy for visitors to discover Auckland’s rich Māori culture. 

Time Unlimited Tours
On the Auckland Māori Tour, your clients can explore the sights of the city, as well as Auckland’s west coast beaches and volcanoes, which hold special significance to Māori. There is also an option to visit Auckland Museum and tour the Māori and Polynesian section of the museum, before watching a cultural performance.  

Te Haerenga – a journey through sacred islands
A guided journey on Auckland’s iconic Rangitoto and neighbouring Motutapu island. Knowledgeable Ngai Tai tribal guides share traditional and contemporary stories linked to these beautiful islands.

Northland & Bay of Islands

From historic sites such as the Waitangi Historic Reserve – where the treaty that made New Zealand a British colony was signed – to the mystical Hokianga Harbour and Kauri Coast; Northland is rich in Māori culture and historical places. 

Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Visit New Zealand’s most important historic site where the country’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed in 1840. The recently opened museum is a great place to better understand New Zealand history and in the evenings, performers bring Māori culture to life with a daily cultural show and hangi.

Footprints Waipoua
Enjoy an intimate guided encounter through ancient kauri forests and discover how these giant trees are intertwined with the lives of local Māori.


Home to bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and natural hot springs, Rotorua also offers an array of Māori concert performances set within major geothermal reserves and cultural centres.

Te Puia, Rotorua
Situated in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, Te Puia’s 60-hectare site is home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, a live kiwi enclosure, the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, and more than 500 natural geothermal wonders.

Mitai Māori Village
Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream and see glow worms in their natural habitat.

A wonderland of Māori culture, geothermal activity and traditions. The unique living thermal village provides guided tours, cultural shows and lunchtime geothermal hangi meals.


Art Deco Napier might not be the first destination that springs to mind when booking a Māori cultural experience, but Waimarama Māori Tours offer a unique insight into the life of an elder and his family, relating historical and contemporary Māori culture from a unique and personal point of view.

Waimarama Māori Tours
Take an intimate, personal and spiritual journey of discovery into the ways of Māori people in Hawke's Bay.  For more information on the individual tour options, go to www.waimaramamaori.co.nz


Wellington is home to the treasure trove that is Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's innovative and interactive national museum. The museum boasts several permanent Māori cultural exhibitions and taonga (treasures) and exciting tours that allow visitors to get up close and personal to these and more.  

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
Explore the great treasures and stories of this country – its unique natural environment, Māori culture, art heritage, and fascinating history. Bring the whole family and get creative with interactive activities at Whare Toi Arts Studio, or go behind the scenes and see sacred Māori taonga with the Taonga Māori Tour.


Across the water from Wellington, visitors will find the Marlborough Sounds, a collection of ancient sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean. In earlier times, the sounds provided good shelter and food for Māori people. To avoid travelling out into the open sea to get from one sound to another, they carried their waka (canoes) over low saddles.

Māori Experiences
A Māori-owned business offering a range of unique tours to give visitors an insight into Māori culture, history and traditions. Tours include the Māori Marae Tour, a Marlborough Sounds Tour and a Māori Cultural Wine Tour.


There has always been a deep connection between New Zealand's tangata whenua (people of the land) and the whales that grace our waters. In the picturesque coastal town of Kaikoura, your clients can experience these gentle giants in their natural habitat and experience the local Māori culture on a tour. 

Māori Tours Kaikoura
Tours for private parties and groups – especially designed to give your clients insight into the culture and history of Māori people.

Whale Watch Kaikoura
As a Māori-owned company, Whale Watch Kaikoura cherishes the twin values of hospitality to visitors and reverence for the natural world. It is a philosophy that embraces people, the land, the sea and all living things as one. Whale Watch Kaikoura is committed to providing a quality whale watching experience while carefully managing the use of a rare natural resource.


In amongst Timaru’s grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings, visitors will be surprised to find a unique collection of Māori rock art. 

Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre
Here, your clients can see the most significant collection of ancient Māori rock art in New Zealand, as well as share tribal stories and traditions with local Māori guides.