NEW ZEALAND MAORI CULTURE
Māori are the ‘tangata whenua’ or indigenous people of New Zealand, and their rich culture forms a key thread in the tapestry of the country’s past, present and future. Uniquely personal, experiencing Maori Culture gives a rich insight into how New Zealand – as we know it – came to be. The concept of manaakitanga, or hospitality, is a key part of what it means to be Māori. Guests are treated with huge honor and respect, often through ceremony, ritual and food.
Your encounter with Māori culture begins on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotoiti in the heart of the North Island. This is a part of the country rich in cultural and tribal elements that are still practiced to this day. Be welcomed on to a Marae (Maori meeting house); one of the spiritual hubs of Maori communities. Enjoy a traditional Powhiri / Whakatau greeting from the local families. Once this is complete, you will become ‘Tangata Whenua’ – people of the land, or ‘one of the family’.
From here, savour the opportunity to help lay the Hangi in the ground. A traditional way of eating where kai (food) is cooked in a ground oven over hot stones, this is a delicious and authentic way to experience the traditions of the local Ngati Pikiao people. The whenua – earth – is significant in Māori culture as the giver of all life, and the source of all kai.
Once the Hangi is lifted, enjoy spending time in the ‘Whare Tupuna’ or Ancestral House – connecting with locals and chatting about the rich history of this particular tribe and the wider region. Become familiar with the elements of every day Māori life; things like flax weaving, carving and arts and crafts are common traditional past times. Song and dance are a big part of what it means to be Māori; enjoy an interactive cultural performance where you’ll get an up-close-and-personal experience of the world-famous Haka!
Your cultural encounter culminates by sharing in the delicious Hangi feast you helped to prepare. Expect tasty, tender meats like chicken, lamb or pork as well as vegetables like kumara (sweet potato). Sharing in a traditional meal is a key way Māori like to extend manaakitanga to the guests they host.
At a glance
- Return transfers from your accommodation to the Marae on Lake Rotoiti
- Traditional Maori Powhiri (greeting)
- Enjoy being involved in laying the hangi (earth oven) in the ground
- Get to know Maori ways of life – dance, weaving, carving, and song
- Finish with a delicious Hangi feast alongside your hosts