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Where can I get the best Maori cultural experience in New Zealand?

Posted by Ace Rental Cars on 13/07/2018 1:32:35 PM

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The Maori people of New Zealand are known as the tangata whenua – the people of the land. Te Ara encyclopaedia states that they likely arrived from the Pacific Islands around 1300 AD, settling along the coasts to hunt seals and moa.

Much of their early history is hard to determine due to Maori having no written language until Europeans settlers arrived in the 1800s. However, there are many traditions that have been passed down through the generations, and that you can still witness today.

Here is where to get the best cultural experiences here in Aotearoa.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

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One of the most important days in NZ history is when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed at the eponymous Bay of Islands settlement.

To summarise, this document effectively founded the nation as we see it today. It was an agreement signed by the British and Maori chiefs of the time, allowing the Crown to establish a government, among other – sometimes hotly contested – points.

At the Treaty Grounds, you can see not only where the signing took place, but also the largest ceremonial war canoe in the world. 

Collect you rental car from Auckland City or Auckland Airport and then enjoy a drive up north to Waitangi, 

Maori villages

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Maori village attractions are also a must-visit during your cultural road trip of NZ. There are many spread around the country, and each offers its own unique insight into the tangata whenua. At these wonderful places, you will often be able to witness traditional Maori games and warrior training techniques, see flax weaving and try a hangi (below-ground cooking pit) feast.

Rotorua has some of the best in the country, though if you find yourself on the South Island, Christchurch also has its own.

Artefacts, history and more

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As Maori are such a big part of local history and culture, it’s no surprise to see our top museums displaying wide ranges of their cultural artefacts. You can see intricately carved statues, beautifully restored maraes (meeting houses) and learn all about the history of this fascinating culture in these attractions, located throughout both islands.

Auckland Museum, Te Papa in Wellington and Christchurch's Canterbury Museum are all free to enter and are perfect places to get your knowledge fix.

Greenstone carving

Pounamu (greenstone) was an important material in Maori culture. It was used to create gorgeous pieces of jewellery, in addition to weapons and tools as well. If you would like to learn about carving techniques, Hokitika on the South Island’s West Coast is a great place to visit, as it is home to some of the best tours.

You can also pick up your own necklace, bracelet or ring at most gift or jewellery stores around the country.

Rental Car locations to pickup your rental car.


Rental Car Christchurch Location

Pick up Branch Auckland City Click for more info Booking-button

Address: 166 Orchard Road, Harewood, Christchurch New Zealand Get Directions

Phone Number: +64 3 360 3270 Toll Free: 0800 502 277 Email Address: christchurch@acerentals.co.nz

Office Hours: Open 7 days a week 7am to 7pm (Closed Christmas Day)

Ace Rental Cars Auckland Location

Pick up Branch Auckland City Click for more info Booking-button

Address: 39 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland New Zealand  Get Directions

Phone Number:  +64 9 303 3112 Toll Free: 0800 502 277

Office Hours: Open 7 days a week

Ace Rental Cars Wellington Location

Pick up Branch Wellington Airport Click for more info Booking-button

Address: Welling Airport Get Directions to our Ace location and start your trip

Freephone: 0800 502 277 Email: wellingtonairport@acerentals.co.nz

Office Hours: Open 7 days a week, 7am to 7pm (closed Christmas Day)


Tags: travel guides, Natural attractions, Maori Experience, Waitangi, New Zealand Must Do's