The Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa. Their centuries-old culture has shaped New Zealand culture today and is an integral part of life here. From the moment you arrive you will hear te reo Māori spoken – whether it’s a friendly “kia ora” from a local, or the spine-tingling experience of a powhiri (welcome) with waiata (songs).
You can learn more about Māoritanga through the many cultural attractions around New Zealand, with marae visits, performances, guided tours of historic and cultural sites, and interactive exhibitions of traditional arts and crafts.
New Zealand’s museums are full of interactive experiences and carefully preserved treasures to discover. You’ll find the stories of ancient Māori and early European settlers alongside the story of our developing nationhood and what has made us distinctly Kiwi.
Highlights include our national museum of Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin. Local museums in smaller towns also offer a fascinating glimpse into New Zealand’s past.
Historic Māori pa sites, early settler cottages, grand 19th century mansions, an Art Deco city and New Zealand’s only castle all wait to be explored.
Visit the beautiful Waitangi Treaty Grounds in Northland to learn about a key moment between Māori and the new European arrivals that continues to shape New Zealand life today.
In Auckland, grand old homes showcase the finer side of colonial life. Napier’s stunning Art Deco architecture captures the glamour and style of the 1930s, while Wellington is home to the old Government Buildings, the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere.
Tongariro National Park in the central North Island holds dual UNESCO World Heritage status for its natural wonders and cultural importance to Māori.
The South Island’s heritage sites highlight the glamour and hardship of the gold rush days, and the day-to-day toil of pioneer farmers. See the remains of the gold miners’ settlement in Arrowtown, and marvel at the splendour of Larnach Castle, built by an eccentric Dunedin banker in the 1870s.