Nicolai Verbaarschot, Emil Romer
March 2010


Maori cultural tribes and villages are situated in New Zealand. The Maori are descended from the Polynesian people. Polynesia consists of over 1000 islands including New Zealand. Polynesian people and the Maori share many similarities such as architecture and culture. The Polynesians were said to have arrived between 950 and 1300 although it is not quite sure.

Topography map

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Physical Map

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Climate map

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1290- Takitimu arrives at Te Awanui (Tauranga harbor). Built a pa at Maungatawa and became know as Ngti Ranginui.
1300-1350- Polynesians settle in New Zealand and become the Maori.
1700- Ngaiterangi conquest of Tauranga.
1820- Te Morenga destroys Pa on Mauao. Te Wani, chief of Ngāiterangi saves Otumoetai Pa. Makes peace with Te Morenga at Matuaiwi Pa.
1820- Samuel Marsden sees Tauranga from Mt Hikurangi near Waihi (first European sighting).
1846- Military occupation of Tauranga.


Traditional Maori government: Traditional the Maori have tribes. Each tribe has a Chief who is given the title based on heritage and age. If one is of senior descent to a primary ancestor they are named chief. Older members of the tribe would also have a greater say in things because of their age.

Present Maori Government: The Maori has a political party in New Zealand called the Maori party. Their president is called Prof. Whatarangi Winiata and they have two co-leaders, Dr. Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia. The party has two slogans:
"He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangate." - What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.
"Our people are our greatest wealth."
The Maori party strives to preserve Maori traditions in modern day society. Their priorities include Immigration, Teaching Maori heritage studies in primary and secondary schools, Maori electoral seats and participation, Natural resources, Environment and Thriving Maori business.

Logo -

Maori Party logo.svg
Maori Party logo.svg


The Maori tribes would originally hunt seals and moa birds to sustain themselves and even when those luxuries ran out they could still sustain themselves on cultivating Kumara (sweet potato) and fern root. Because of things like this there was little need for trade however the tribes still traded valuable cutting stones like greenstone, obsidian and argillite.


The Maori society was not much of a hiarchy but their was a chief in each seprate tribe. The chief would be in control and teach others in the tribe. Then there were the hunters, who would hunt for meat and make beautifully crafted weopons, such as the mere, wahaika, kotiate, taiaha and the toki pou tangata. The hunters would also fight other tribes if needed, then afterwards would eat the human meat.

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The woman served different purposes in the tribe. They would gather food (berries and assorted plants and bark). They would also use different color dyes to make the decoration on the body (both men and woman). They also weaved clothing for the men, woman and children of the tribe.

Belief Systems

The Maori had a main family gods similar to a family of men. This shows the Family tree of the gods, starting with the sky father (Ranginui) and earth mother (Papatuanuku).
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If a tangi (funeral service) is held on the marae the local people hold small twigs of green leaves in their hands. The twigs are a symbol of mourning. There is a funeral service before the burial of the "tupapaku" (body). The Maori will not leave the body alone after death, so it will be taken to the Marae where it will remain with family and friends until burial.
Speeches may be made directly to the "tupapaku" as the Māori believe that the spirit of the body does not actually leave until the body is buried.

Marae- A marae is a sacred place serving both religious and social purposes in pre-christian Polynesian societies.


The Maori use the word Tikanga to describe their customs and traditions which have been handed down over time. the meaning of tikinga is things that are true (tika). The Maori believe that their customs guide them to the future. They believe that the future is behind because nobody can see it and always becomes the past. Usually, at Maori gathering, guests are first prensented with an action song and then greeted in the traditional Maori way, called hongi, which involves the touching of noses. At these meeting food is prepared on earthen ovens placed on heated stones. A large tourist attraction is the Maori haka which is a dance form, performed in a group, accompanied by shouts and actions.

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Art and Architecture

The Maori are very famous for their tattooing, which is called moko. The process of tattooing is called ta moko, which means to strike or to chisel and is very painfull. The intricate tattos primarily where put on the faces of men, since in Maori culture the face is the most sacred part of the body. Men also traditionally wear the tattos on their chest and thighs. Women however usually have tattoos confined to the lips and chin. The tattoos are symbolic, as they tell a story and it usually comences when the child hits puberty. The Maori are also know for their weaving and carving. Literature, stories and legends where handed down this way.

external image maori.jpgexternal image maori-tattoo-designs_3598.jpg


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