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Art & Culture


Art & Culture

New Zealand's unique blend of Maori and Pakeha culture has given rise to a fresh Pacific identity that breathes vibrancy.

From world-class opera singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to the massed creative talent of the theatrical spectacle that is the World of WearableArts, New Zealanders continue to explore and develop their artistic nature.

The relative youth and isolation of the nation in world terms has led to artists developing a Pacific style seen nowhere else in the world.

What is Kiwi culture? It's about being innovative, independent and celebrating diversity. As such, while there's no denying that rugby - and sport in general - are an intrinsic part of New Zealand culture, the rising number of high quality art and culture-based events shows that the nation is maturing and being recognised for its strength in the arts.


View these and more downloadable Art & Culture images in Tourism New Zealand's Image Library.


The art of harakeke (flax weaving) is passed on from one generation to the next.

To the Maori people, weaving is more than just a product of manual skills. From a simple rourou (food basket) to the prestigious kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak), weaving is endowed with the very essence of Maori spiritual values. The ancient Polynesian belief is that the artist is a vehicle through whom the gods create.

Photo credit: James Heremaia



At Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, history is highly entertaining.

The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, preserves and presents the taonga (treasures) of New Zealand's people. Spectacular long-term exhibitions are enhanced by diverse short-term exhibitions and a captivating events programme - performances, talks, lectures, entertainments and more. Te Papa is open every day of the year and entry is free. 

Photo credit: Te Papa Museum





All cultures can feel at home on the marae at Te Papa.

The marae at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand, is where you can learn about Maori culture, history and protocols. It is open daily to visitors of all cultures and ages. The marae is also available for ceremonial purposes by special arrangement.

Photo credit: Te Papa Museum

A unique sculpture that will feature in the New Zealand garden at the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show.

A stainless steel limpet shell form is placed on the black sand ‘beach.’ As the practice of limpets is to venture away and return to their individual place in the rock-pool, this work evokes a sense of New Zealander’s longing for home, for a rock to return to, that is at the heart of our cultural identity.

Photo credit: Virginia King