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Maori Culture

Maori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand in English), with a long and intriguing story. Based on oral records, archaeological finds and genetic analyses, historical treatises place the arrival of Maori in New Zealand in the 13th century AD. The origin of Maori has been traced to the islands of Eastern Polynesia, and their journey to New Zealand occurred in a number of epic waka (canoe) voyages over a significant period of time.

These journeys established Maori as daring and resourceful adventurers, and as one of the greatest navigating peoples of all time. The contemporary Maori culture has been shaped by the traditions of its rich cultural heritage, with an outward view of the challenges faced by indigenous peoples in a global society. The defining aspects of Maori culture include artistic carvings, weaving, legends, tattoos (moko), performances (notably kapa haka), customary hospitality and community involvement. Since the early 1980s, the Maori culture has undergone a revival. The regeneration of interest in Maori culture has extended to language, and Maori language programs (such as kohanga reo) are now flourishing.

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