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10 Best Maori Tours in New Zealand

Rotorua NZ Tourism

New Zealand Maori tours you can’t miss!

When you see performances of the Haka performed by New Zealand sports teams, you can’t help but want to dig a little deeper into the culture that this captivating chant represents. The Polynesian culture of the Maori are great explorers occupying New Zealand for centuries, enriching their cultural and traditions that can still be experienced today. Maori tours in New Zealand allow you to immerse yourself in the customs, history and even the tastes of the Maori culture. It’s a great way to experience the true New Zealand!

You’ll find that most Maori tours are on the North Island of New Zealand, the base of where their ancestors arrived in the 1300s. You’ll learn all about that and more in any Maori tour, but if you want to learn a bit more before meeting your Maori guides, see 10 Things You Did Not Know About the Maori Culture.

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1. Mataatua

Based in one of the finest and most significant wharenuis (meeting house) in New Zealand, Mataatua will give you a hands-on Maori cultural experience in Whakatane. See the carvings of the Mataatua Wharenui before you are invited inside the house that has literally travelled all over the world to be displayed over 130 years. In the “House That Came Home” you can take part in Maori song and dance before trying some local cuisine. See more amazing things to do in Whakatane.

Location: Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
Graeme Murray Tourism NZ

2. Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki is one of New Zealand’s longest-running and most-loved Maori tours taking you on a journey through the customs and history of the Maori culture. After experiencing a captivating powhiri (welcoming ceremony), you will be able to enter the village giving a taste of what life was like in New Zealand centuries ago. Engage in different workshops around the village, watch performances of the Haka right before your eyes, and sit down to a Hangi banquet – a traditional style meal.

Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

3. Waimarama maori Tours

For a unique and more laid-back style of Maori tour in New Zealand be sure to check out the Waimarama Maori Tours in the Hawke’s Bay region. A local will tell you the history and traditions of the local iwi (tribe), taking you to an ancient pa site (fortified village) as well as other stunning and culturally significant locations. Check out more things to do in Hawke’s Bay!

Location: Waimarama, Hawke’s Bay, North Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

4. Te Puia

See the major highlights of Rotorua all in one place at Te Puia. Not only is it home to a geothermal park with the impressively huge Pohutu Geyser and a place to see a real kiwi bird in their kiwi sanctuary, it’s also home to incredible Maori architecture and a captivating cultural show. Watch Maori performers tell stories of their ancestors through traditional song and dance. Of course, you’ll also see a live Haka performance! Check out more places to visit in Rotorua!

Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

5. Waitangi Treaty Grounds

On one of the most significant sites in New Zealand history, learn about the Maori culture in the location where New Zealand became a nation. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds carved meeting house is the backdrop to Maori storytelling, traditional song and dance and more in Waitangi Treaty Grounds’ cultural performances. Learn more about what there is to see and do in Waitangi here.

Location: Bay of Islands, Northland, North Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

6. Footprints Waipoua

Hokianga is the place where the very first Maori explorer, Kupe, arrived in New Zealand. Learn the local Maori legends with a Maori guide who will show you the Hokianga Harbour before taking you on an evening tour into the ancient Waipoua Forest. There, you will meet Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest and largest Kauri tree in New Zealand. It’s an experience that will give you a greater understanding of both New Zealand’s nature and culture.

Location: Hokianga, Northland, North Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

7. Te Hana

The closest Maori village experience to the bustling centre of Auckland is Te Hana, 1h15min drive north of Auckland. Watch epic performances of the Haka, learn the history, experience a welcoming ceremony and even enjoy the unique opportunity to stay overnight in Te Hana Marae and their carved meeting house. Check out more cultural experiences in Auckland!

Location: Te Hana, Auckland, North Island.
Auckland NZ Tourism

8. WHakarewarewa Maori Living Village

Once you’ve learned how to pronounce “Whakarewarewa” and experience the living village for yourself, you’ll realise it’s an incredible place to learn about Maori traditions and the geothermal environment. Tuck into meals cooked in the geothermal waters, learn how to do traditional Maori weaving or learn more about Ta Moko, Maori tattoos. If you’re travelling in a large group, it’s also worth checking out these marae overnight stay!

Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
Rotorua NZ Tourism

9. Mitai Maori Village

As the Maori tourism hub of New Zealand, it’s no surprise that another one of Rotorua’s amazing cultural experiences makes the list of best Maori tours in New Zealand. Mitai Maori Village is set among stunning native New Zealand bush incorporating traditional Maori customs and history all into a 3-hour evening tour or an 1h30min daytime tour. Taste the Hangi – a traditional meal style where food is cooked in an earth oven. Watch awesome performances including a waka (war canoe) and take an evening bush walk to see glowworms.

Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
Rotorua NZ Tourism

10. Wanahaka Maori Tours

By now you’re probably wandering where are all the Maori tours on the South Island? You’ll find an abundance of Maori tours on the North Island because the North Island has been the homeland of the majority of Maori for centuries. Nevertheless, a few Maori South Island tribes offer insights into their culture, such as the WanaHaka Maori Tours in Wanaka. Watch a cultural performance by “That Wanaka Tree” or even join them for a wine tasting tour around the Otago region. For more South Island Maori tours, see our 13 Places to Experience Maori Culture in New Zealand.

Location: Wanaka, Otago, South Island.
Tourism NZ James Heremaia

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