By Sasha Oelsner
Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Māori culture is an integral part of New Zealand life, with history and language taught in schools.
Even as you travel throughout the country, you’ll notice signage featuring traditional place names and Māori words being used in everyday language.
New Zealand’s colonial past
The Treaty of Waitangi is of great importance in New Zealand’s history. The Treaty is an agreement, in Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs), and you can learn all about it during a guided tour at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds near Auckland on the North Island.
While you’re there, explore the two museums – Te Rau Aroha Museum of the Price of Citizenship and Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi. Here you’ll discover the stories of people, places and events that changed the course of Aotearoa’s history.
Paddling on the river
Meanwhile, if you like a hands-on experience, paddle down the Ōtākaro Avon River in Christchurch in a hand-crafted waka – a traditional Māori canoe with Waka on Avon.
Work together as a team to master the technique, and learn about the history of the river while seeing the city from a new angle.
Māori New Year celebrations
Visit New Zealand in June or July to partake in the newest public holiday on the Kiwi calendar.
Matariki, the Māori New Year, was first held in June 2022 and is an occasion to mourn the deceased, celebrate the present and prepare for the coming year.
The holiday changes date each year based on the lunar cycle, so check before you travel. In 2024, Matariki will be on Friday 28 June.
You can experience cultural performances and concerts, art and craft workshops, topped off with fantastic firework displays in many locations across the country.
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