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new zealand arts & culture | back to regions & attractions

maori culture

Maori People of New Zealand
Arts & Crafts

The indigenous Maori people of New Zealand have a rich and fascinating culture. A variety of Maori cultural tours and attractions are available throughout the country, and will enable you to experience this unique culture first hand.

Many marae (meeting places) throughout the country welcome visitors, including Nga Hau e Wha in Christchurch, the biggest marae in New Zealand. Here you can take part in a powhiri (welcoming ceremony) as well as enjoy a hangi - a traditional Maori feast cooked in an earth oven.

Rotorua is an excellent place to experience Maori culture, and many operators offer an interactive experience. You can learn a Maori waiata (song), stay on a marae overnight, enjoy a hangi, as well as learn about Maori carving, weaponry, and weaving.

arts & crafts

New Zealand offers many different handmade arts and crafts, both European and Maori. There is an abundance of European handcrafts made by local artists, including handmade jewellery, wooden and stuffed toys, hand knitted and crafted wool products, pottery and so on. It is possible to purchase replicas of artifacts to take back home, as well as recently made crafts in both traditional and modern designs. At the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua visitors have the opportunity to watch highly skilled Maori carvers and weavers at work. Nelson also boasts a large creative community of working artists who are proud to show their work where ever possible.


New Zealand's MuseumsNew Zealand's museums draw on a rich cultural heritage reflecting both European and Maori strands of society. There are major museums in each of the main cities and frequently very good local museums in many towns.

Auckland Museum features among its collections many superb examples of Maori and Polynesian artifacts. In Wellington, New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, combines history, art and technology in an interactive, hands-on museum experience. Canterbury Museum's collections include a strong focus on Antarctica and the numerous expeditions to the sub-continent.

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