If you have done even a modicum of research about visiting New Zealand, you will know at least some sort of knowledge about Maori culture and its significance in the modern-day country. Here I have rounded up 6 aspects you must know about this culture if you plan your next visit to this amazing country.
1. The poi
Many tourists are quite aware of the poi. You might have seen Maori women of a tribe use the poi to narrate a story coupled with a dance and song. Today poi is synonymous with feminine grace and beauty. Poi was initially used as a training article among Maori men. They used it to consolidate their wrists, hone their skill and keep their arm muscles supple for combat in times of war.
2. Ta moko
Ta Moko is an art of Maori tattooing, which is popular across the world due to the art of ‘ta moko’—the tattoos that Maori traditionally covered their faces and heads with as they believe that the head was the most auspicious part of the body. The most unique thing about this art is that each tattoo is unique – means no two tattoos are the same. This is because every tattoo symbolizes that person’s genealogy, knowledge and social status within their tribe, and no one person is identical to anyone else.
3. No written Maori language
Do you know prior to the arrival of European settlers, there was no written Maori language like there is now (Te Reo Maori)? This is the reason the Maori had to pass on their histories orally. They have so many fantastic legends to narrate the creation of their lands and to explain things that they didn’t understand. For this, they used to carve characters and gods from their historical stories into wood and stone to tell tales and even tattoo their histories into their own skins.
4. Tongariro National Park
In 1993, Tongariro was the first place in the world to have a World Heritage Site for the spiritual and cultural values. It holds a special place for the Maori and, even for those New Zealanders who came to settle down in New Zealand and not of Maori descent. In this part of the land has herb fields, forests, lakes, streams, desert-like areas, volcanoes, and snow. There are few places like this on the earth and having a trip to this place or hiking a day through this landscape makes it special in its accessibility.
5. A Hangi
This is also a tradition of New Zealand which is a unique way of cooking. In this method, the food items are placed on the heated rocks that are buried in a pit oven. It takes three to five hours—depending on what you’re cooking—to prepare the food whilst the fire of a hangi burns down. There is a number of delicacies that are cooked underneath with the exception of seafood. All the root vegetables, like potatoes, and kumara (sweet potato) are peeled, portioned and put into a sack, then soaked in water. If you get the chance to share in the building, preparation and eating of a hangi then never turn it down. You will come to know and have a close watch of the true tradition and life of kiwis.
Above listed are the most astonishing and unique things that you’ll get to know about the Kiwis if you happen to travel to this country.