Delving into the Māori Culture in Rotorua

I’ve been fortunate enough while living in New Zealand to work in a job that has exposed me to a lot of Māori culture.

During the first month in my role, I was sent to Hamilton to attend a hui and introduce myself with a formal mihi. If that wasn’t enough to educate me then I didn’t know what was. But spending the evening at Tamaki Village with a real Māori tribe was something else.

The night experience taught me beyond the Māori email etiquette I had become accustomed to in work and answered questions that had me curious during my time in NZ. Coming away from the evening gave me a much broader understanding and new found appreciation for Māori and the importance of keeping traditions alive through modern day practice.

The Haka

never gets old no matter how many times I’ve seen it live. Commonly known around the world due to the All Blacks performing the dance to intimidate their opponents before a rugby match. Traditionally though, this war cry was performed by warriors prior to battle. These days the haka is used to greet people, as recognition of an achievement or at occasions and funerals. If you’re a guy you’ll have the rare opportunity (like Mat so willingly did) to showcase your haka skills at Tamaki Village.

A Hāngi

is a traditional Māori style of cooking that is still commonly practised in New Zealand. The cooking process involves digging a pit in the ground, filling it with hot stones and covering the food for several hours with soil.

Good things obviously come to those who wait because this method result’s in the tastiest, most succulent meal. If I could compare it to a dish in the UK it would be a roast dinner, but with Kumara (sweet potato) and mussels.

What cultural experiences have you encountered on your travels?

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