Maori Culture

A Maori meeting house (Wharenui)
Maori Wharenui


Over 700 years ago the people who would become known as the Maori first arrived in New Zealand. These initial explorers would be followed by waves of Polynesian settlers who would populate the two islands that make up New Zealand. Because of centuries of complete isolation from the rest of the world the Maori people developed a unique culture. This isolation would come to an end with the arrival of European settlers which began in 1769 with Captain James Cook. On this page is a list of interesting facts about traditional Maori culture. This information includes what customs the Maori have, why wars between Maori tribes was common, and how they survived on New Zealand.
Bone Art

Maori Culture Facts

Bone Art


Today Maori people live throughout New Zealand, and many are actively involved with keeping their culture and language alive. In recent years, the introduction of Maori language nests (kohanga reo) has revived the Maori language. At kohanga reo, preschool children are encouraged to speak in Maori. Primary and secondary schools build on this early immersion by including Maori in the curriculum. Traditional carvers also help to keep Maori culture alive by creating intricate works that pay respect to the past.