Māori Living Today

Encounter Māori lifestyles of today

Northland is where it all began...

Landing in the shores

Over a thousand years ago the great discoverer Kupe, on the ocean-going double hulled waka named Matawhaorua or Matahao, arrived and named this place Aotearoa. Kupe and his crew had travelled thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean guided by the stars, the sun and the moon, the currents, clouds, the wind and the birds.

Today, many iwi trace their ancestry back to Kupe and some of the oldest traces of Māori settlement, or kainga, can be found in Northland. Kupe returned to his homeland from Hokianga to inform his people of his discovery and so began many migrations.

The arrival of Europeans

In the late eighteenth century Europeans arrived, initially on voyages of exploration, followed by traders, whalers and sealers. News of the temperate climate, the fertile land and the potential of kauri logging and kauri gum filtered back to the homelands - a big motivation for the migration which followed.

Most of the region’s European population today are of British descent; many other ethnicities live in Northland including the Croatian community from the Dargaville area north, with a particularly strong heritage around Kaitaia. Waipu, a small town in Bream Bay, has a strong Scottish heritage and hosts one of the country’s most successful Highland Games, held annually on New Year’s Day.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is people, it is people, it is people
— A Māori proverb

More than 150,000 people now call this region home. Together, we are the Peoples of Northland.

Māori Culture

Experience Māori Living Today

Tangata whenua / People of the land

Māori language, culture, stories and traditions are strong in Northland and you will see evidence of this throughout the region. Whether in:
→ an intricate bone or pounamu (greenstone) carving
→ Māori pou (carved wooden posts)
→ Visual shows, museums and historic sites
→ Waka trips or guided night walks
... our history is everywhere

Maori Cultural Experiences

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi

Aotearoa (New Zealand) is home to people from many cultures and many lands. But before significant migration from around the world, there were two peoples, Māori and Pākehā (people of European descent). To learn about New Zealand’s history and to gain an insight into the coming together of Māori and Pākehā, you need to visit Northland first.

★ Recommended

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Experience the day that changed history

Step back in time and discover the birthplace of our nation. An absolute ‘must-do’ for visitors and locals alike, the award-winning Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Museum of Waitangi are unquestionably one of New Zealand’s premier attractions.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Book now

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