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If you have the opportunity to travel to another country you would indeed miss out if you don’t take the time to discover what makes that country special. Of course we encourage relaxation and we’ll happily arrange a trip to the spa or suggest a favorite restaurant, day tour, or beach; but we also desire our clients to truly experience New Zealand and the Māori culture. After all, you’re traveling to the other side of the world! Shouldn’t you see what it’s really like down there?
The Māori culture is hundreds of years old and is still thriving throughout New Zealand. Best scientific estimates put the first Māoris in New Zealand almost 1,000 years ago, and generation to generation they have passed down their traditions, legends, and beliefs, which even in the 21st century are still practiced and revered.
When you arrive at a village you will be greeted in the traditional Māori fashion of the hongi— a nose to nose and forehead to forehead greeting that as the Māoris say renders one no longer a stranger, but one of the “people of the land”. You’ll find that these lovely, hospitable people delight in sharing the stories of their past and the ways of their culture. Let them walk you through their history complete with pictures, carvings, and sacred houses. With many of our itineraries you will experience a Hangi feast which will include delectable food cooked by the method their ancestors passed down. Additionally the traditional dance of the Māori, the Haka, will be performed and you’ll hear the Waiata, the traditional song. These are powerful and treasured gifts that the Māori give freely and openly. Spending time with these people will be a reward in itself.
Many westerners are at least a little familiar with the Haka dance as New Zealand’s national sports teams often perform it before a game (you can see their recent performance before facing off against the US men’s basketball team here). The Haka is most notably an ancestral war cry and dance. Although the chest, leg, and arm pounding, stamping feet, and rhythmic shouts prove this dance to be once used to intimidate, a Haka is more often performed as a tradition to acknowledge great achievements, mark special events, or welcome distinguished guests.
There is so much more to glean from the Māori culture than can be grasped from reading a blog. As is true for all the best things in life, you have to see it (and hear it and smell it and taste it) to truly appreciate it. There is a Māori saying that goes, “E hoa ma, ina te ora o te tangata” which translates, “My friends, this is the essence of life.” We think that sentiment fits a visit to a Māori village, and the big-hearted, beautiful people who live there, perfectly. We love New Zealand and we love the Māori people. We would be thrilled to help you plan a trip that will excite you, educate you, provide you with relaxation and pampering, and also let you into a world that so few people will ever see. How can you pass that up?
From clients of About New Zealand
“What an awe inspiring trip visiting [New Zealand]. It’s always amazing to experience different cultures, climates and overall ‘way of life’. “
“I found it fascinating to connect New Zealand’s rich history to the current day strong partnership between White descendants… Hearing the stories and having respect for the view that these ancient forests have ancestral spirits makes you begin to understand the culture and their beautiful land.”
“The Hangi Feast was superb and the dancing and singing was so fun to watch!”
“I didn’t expect to love the village visit as much as I did… we met the nicest people and the food was great.”
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