6 Ways to Immerse Yourself in Maori Culture in Auckland
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Explore the Auckland War Memorial Museum
  2. Visit the Maori village of Tamaki Makaurau
  3. Experience the Maori Performing Arts
  4. Taste traditional Maori cuisine
  5. Learn the Haka
  6. Join a Maori guided walk

Have you ever dreamed of immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Maori culture in Auckland? Well, you're in luck! Auckland is a vibrant city teeming with opportunities for you to delve into Maori traditions, history, and lifestyle. From museums to guided walks, this blog will guide you through six amazing ways to experience the Maori culture in Auckland, both enriching your understanding and satisfying your curiosity. So, let's dive in and start our cultural journey!

Explore the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Our first stop in this journey through Maori culture in Auckland is the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This is no ordinary museum — it's a treasure trove of Maori history and a testament to their strength and resilience. So, let's explore what it has to offer!

The Maori Galleries

As you step into the Maori Galleries, you'll be greeted by a world full of intricate carvings, weavings, and other artifacts. Here's what you can expect:

  • Carvings: You'll come across awe-inspiring wood carvings that speak volumes about Maori craftsmanship and their connection to nature.
  • Weavings: The delicate, intricate weavings are a testament to the Maori's skill and patience. They tell a story of a culture that values detail and precision.
  • Artifacts: From tools to jewelry, the artifacts offer a glimpse into the everyday life of the Maori people.

The War Canoe

Next stop: the war canoe. This isn't just a boat — it's a symbol of Maori strength and unity. With its detailed carvings and imposing size, it's a sight you'll remember long after your visit.


Last but not least, make sure to check out the Maori cultural performances. You'll get the chance to witness the Haka dance, a powerful display of Maori pride and spirit. It's a performance that will stir your soul and leave you in awe of the Maori culture in Auckland.

Exploring the Auckland War Memorial Museum is just the beginning. As we journey further, you'll discover more about the vibrant Maori culture in Auckland. So, stay tuned!

Visit the Maori village of Tamaki Makaurau

Now that we've explored the Auckland War Memorial Museum, let's step back in time and visit the Maori village of Tamaki Makaurau. It's an experience that brings the Maori culture in Auckland to life in a way that's both engaging and educational. So, what are we waiting for? Let's go!

A Journey Back in Time

As you enter Tamaki Makaurau, you're not just stepping into a village; you're stepping back in time. Here's what you'll encounter:

  • Traditional houses: You'll see traditional Maori houses, or whare, with their distinctive architecture and carvings. They're not just buildings; they're a peek into the Maori way of life.
  • Carving and Weaving Demonstrations: Get up close and personal with Maori artisans as they demonstrate their carving and weaving skills. It's a chance to appreciate the talent and effort that goes into each piece.
  • Haka and Waiata: You'll have the opportunity to experience the Haka and Waiata — traditional Maori song and dance. It's a performance that's sure to move you, both emotionally and physically!

Interacting with the Maori People

But the Maori village of Tamaki Makaurau is not just about observing; it's about interacting. You'll have the chance to engage in conversations with the Maori people, learning about their history, values, and way of life directly from them. It's a unique experience that truly immerses you in the Maori culture in Auckland.

Visiting the Maori village of Tamaki Makaurau is like stepping into a living museum. It's a cultural journey that allows you to experience the Maori way of life in a way that's authentic and immersive. But our journey through the Maori culture in Auckland doesn't end here — there's still so much more to discover!

Experience the Maori Performing Arts

After our insightful visit to the Maori village of Tamaki Makaurau, it's time to dive deeper into the vibrant world of Maori performing arts. This unique aspect of Maori culture in Auckland offers a captivating blend of music, dance, and storytelling. Intrigued? Let's begin our exploration.

Understanding the Role of Performing Arts in Maori Culture

First, let's understand why performing arts hold such a special place in Maori culture. It's about much more than just entertainment. Performing arts are:

  • A Means of Storytelling: The Maori people have a rich oral tradition. Stories, legends, and histories are often shared through performances, offering a dynamic way to learn about Maori heritage.
  • A Form of Expression: Music and dance are used to express a range of emotions, from joy and celebration to sorrow and mourning. This emotional depth adds a powerful dimension to Maori performances.
  • A Spiritual Connection: For the Maori people, performing arts are a way to connect with their ancestors and the spiritual world. It's a profound experience that's deeply embedded in their culture.

Engaging with Maori Performing Arts

Now that we know the significance of performing arts in Maori culture, it's time to experience it firsthand. When in Auckland, make sure to:

  1. Attend a Kapa Haka performance: Kapa Haka is a form of Maori performing arts that combines singing, dancing, and facial expressions. It's a performance like no other, and a must-see when immersing in the Maori culture in Auckland.
  2. Learn about Taonga Puoro: Taonga Puoro refers to traditional Maori musical instruments. From the soothing tones of the putorino (flute) to the deep sound of the pūkāea (trumpet), these instruments add a unique touch to Maori music.

Experiencing the Maori performing arts is like stepping into a world where emotions, stories, and spirituality come alive through music and dance. It's an integral part of the Maori culture in Auckland, and a journey that promises to be as enriching as it is entertaining. But we're not done yet—there's still more to explore in the realm of Maori culture!

Taste traditional Maori cuisine

Following the rhythm of Maori performing arts, let's now explore another exciting aspect of Maori culture in Auckland - their traditional cuisine. Maori cuisine offers a unique culinary experience that is deeply rooted in the land and traditions of New Zealand. Ready to tantalize your taste buds? Let's dive in.

Get to Know Hangi - The Traditional Maori Cooking Method

The heart of Maori cuisine is the Hangi - a traditional cooking method that involves steaming food underground. Here's how it works:

  1. Heating the Stones: A pit is dug and filled with stones, which are then heated with a large fire.
  2. Preparing the Food: Meat and vegetables are wrapped in leaves and placed on top of the heated stones.
  3. Cooking Underground: Everything is covered with earth and left to cook for several hours. The result? Deliciously tender meat and vegetables with a distinctive smoky flavor.

Experiencing a Hangi is like taking a delicious journey into the past of the Maori culture in Auckland.

Tasting Maori Dishes

Once you've seen how the Hangi works, it's time to taste some traditional Maori dishes:

  • Kumara: This sweet potato, brought to New Zealand by the Maori people, is a staple in their diet. It's often baked in a Hangi and has a naturally sweet flavor.
  • Paua: This is a type of large sea snail harvested along the coast. Paua is often turned into fritters which have a unique, ocean-fresh taste.
  • Whitebait Fritters: These are small fish cooked into a delicate, egg-based fritter. It's a seasonal delicacy and a must-try when you're exploring Maori cuisine in Auckland.

Tasting traditional Maori cuisine is not just about filling your stomach—it's about understanding their deep connection with the land and sea. It's another aspect of the Maori culture in Auckland that draws you in with its depth and deliciousness. We've tasted and listened, and now it's time to learn—let's continue our journey!

Learn the Haka

Now that we have savored the flavors of Maori cuisine, it's time to immerse ourselves in one of the most recognized aspects of Maori culture in Auckland—the Haka. The Haka is a traditional Maori war dance that is performed with vigor, passion and unity. It's not just a performance, it's a celebration of Maori heritage and spirit. Are you ready to learn?

Understanding the Haka

Before you start stamping your feet and swinging your arms, it's important to understand what the Haka truly represents:

  • A Show of Strength: The Haka was traditionally performed before going into battle, displaying the strength and bravery of the warriors.
  • A Form of Storytelling: Each movement in the Haka tells a story. The stomping feet represent the shaking earth, the slapping of hands against the body symbolizes the warriors' courage, and the protruding tongue defies the enemy.
  • A Spiritual Ritual: The Haka is also a way for the Maori people to connect with their ancestors and the spiritual world. It's a ritual that brings the community together and strengthens their identity.

The Haka is more than just a dance—it's a powerful expression of Maori culture in Auckland.

Learning to Perform the Haka

Learning the Haka is a journey of cultural discovery. Here's how you can start:

  1. Join a Haka Workshop: There are many workshops in Auckland where you can learn the Haka under the guidance of Maori experts. These workshops not only teach you the dance but also explain the stories and traditions behind it.
  2. Practice the Movements: The Haka involves a combination of foot stamping, body slapping, and rhythmic chanting. It might take a while to get the hang of it, but don't worry—practice makes perfect!
  3. Perform with Passion: Remember, the Haka is performed with intensity and emotion. So put your heart into it and express yourself!

Learning the Haka is a unique way to immerse yourself in Maori culture in Auckland. It's a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey that connects you with a rich cultural heritage. So, let's put on our dancing shoes and embrace the spirit of the Haka!

Join a Maori Guided Walk

After exerting energy learning the Haka, let's slow down a little and take a leisurely stroll. One of the most fulfilling ways to explore Maori culture in Auckland is by joining a Maori guided walk. This isn't your typical city tour—these walks take you on a journey through time, showcasing the rich history and traditions of the Maori people.

Discovering Maori History

Walking through Auckland with a Maori guide is like stepping into a living history book. Here are some highlights you can expect:

  • Sacred Sites: Auckland is home to many sites that hold great significance for the Maori people. From ancient fortresses to sacred mountains, your guide will share the stories and legends behind these places.
  • Historic Landmarks: You'll also visit landmarks that bear witness to the Maori's past, from pre-European times to the present day. Look closely, and you'll see traces of Maori culture in Auckland's modern cityscape.
  • Maori Art: Keep an eye out for traditional Maori carvings, weavings, and artworks. Each piece provides a glimpse into the Maori worldview and values.

It's not just about sightseeing—it's about understanding the deep roots of Maori culture in Auckland.

Connecting with Nature

Maori guided walks are not just about history—they're also a celebration of nature. Here's how:

  1. Native Flora and Fauna: New Zealand is known for its unique biodiversity. As you walk, your guide will introduce you to native plants and animals, explaining their significance in Maori culture.
  2. Spiritual Connection: For the Maori, nature is not just a resource—it's a source of life and spirituality. Walking through Auckland's stunning landscapes, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the Maori's respect for the natural world.
  3. Conservation Efforts: Many Maori guided walks support conservation initiatives, allowing you to contribute to the preservation of New Zealand's natural heritage.

Joining a Maori guided walk is more than a tour—it's a journey of discovery. It's a chance to connect with the land, learn about Maori culture in Auckland, and leave with a deeper understanding and respect for this remarkable culture.

If you enjoyed exploring the ways to immerse yourself in Maori culture and are interested in incorporating cultural elements into your creative work, check out the workshop 'Culture & How To Include It In Your Work' by Juanjose Mouko Nsue. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and techniques on how to respectfully and authentically include culture in your creative projects.