New Zealand may be a young country, but the diverse wealth of Maori culture, performing arts, literature, museums and art galleries will leave even the most fervent arts and culture buffs completely satisfied. New Zealand has more than 4 million people and is recorded to have more ethnicities than other countries in the world. Known for its great quality of life, the richness and uniqueness of the Maori culture and heritage, New Zealand offers every tourist a fascinating insight into the Maori way of life including performing arts, traditional carvings, tribal dance and traditional Maori tattoos that often tell a story, an educational and unique kiwi experience to immerse yourself in. Maori visual art is more than decorations. It celebrates the past and continues to evolve through fresh inspirations. Maori art is highly spiritual and before the European arrived in New Zealand, carvings, woven tapestries, and tattoos captured and conveyed information about history, ancestry and legends still found today in many arts galleries and museums across New Zealand. Te Puia , The Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua is home to New Zealand’s official Maori cultural centres and The New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts institute nurtures traditional Maori arts, including wood and greenstone (pounamu) carving and flax weaving.
Museums such as Auckland Museum, known for an impressive collection of Maori and Polynesian artefacts and Te Papa in Wellington offers a very modern, and often interactive, learning experience. Canterbury Museum has a strong focus on Antarctica, Otago Museum in Dunedin takes an in depth look at the natural and social history of the South Island while the provincial cities also have plenty to show on Kauri trees, coal and gold mining, cable cars, caves, toys, volcanic eruptions, boats, trains, army equipment and many more.
Guided tours to discover the authentic cultural performances with overnight village stays and experiences where you can learn cultural dances such as “Haka”, watch ancient Maori crafts being taught, experience the preparation of the traditional meal Hangi (Meal cooked in earth-oven) and even receive a traditional Maori tattoo that tells its own unique story. Similarly, on the North Island, you can experience New Zealand’s most important historical sight in Waitangi Treaty Grounds. At the beautiful and historical site, you can take in a guided tour and regular cultural performances during the day and a truly immersive Maori culture experience in the evening that incorporates a Wero (Challenge), powhiri (Welcome) and cultural performance before a delicious traditional meal.