Celebrating the spirit of Aotearoa

As Kiwis prepare for the upcoming long weekend, Expedia data indicates many are interested in exploring destinations outside the usual suspects, with Bay of Plenty, Queenstown and Waikato making their way up the ranks this year compared to 2020.

For those opting to stay within their region or indulge in a staycation, why not spend the long weekend rediscovering the spirit of Aotearoa and learn more about Maori culture. From twilight forest adventures to sacred sunrise moments, here’s a round-up of some of Aotearoa’s cultural experiences and activities ideal for everyone to enjoy.



Explore the Maori Forest after dark Discover Waipoua Forest with this unique twilight guided Maori Forest Tour. Led by a local Maori guide, experience the affinity that Maori have with the forest and the deep spiritual respect they have. Your guide will share stories and legends before respectfully greeting the oldest and largest known kauri trees in the world with chants and song.

The land of the first light – Discover the sacred mountain Maunga Hikurangi and stand before nine larger than life carved pillars, as you learn about Maori history and the legendary feats of Maui and his whanau. Said to be one of the first places to see light, enjoy this sunrise experience as you learn about each of the nine carvings and the significance they hold to Maori culture.



Discover Auckland’s Maori culture – Before the day begins, experience a warm welcome before enjoying a day of sightseeing and learning about indigenous Maori culture throughout the day as you discover Auckland and the Waitakere Ranges on Auckland’s West Coast.

Immersive Waka experience – Capture the true spirit and essence of authentic Maori culture and ain unique insights into their ancient customs, rituals and traditions on this interactive experience through the mangrove estuaries of the Waitangi river to the mystical Haruru waterfalls aboard a Waka Taua. Travellers will also have a bonus free pass into the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.



Te Papa Museum (Wellington) – Get an up-close look at the history of New Zealand during a guided tour of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa with an emphasis on Maori culture. Ideal for a family day out, discover artwork and cultural relics dating back to 1280 and see history unfold before your eyes.

Okains Bay Musuem Waitangi Day Commemorations – A signature event since the Museum first opened in1977, the Waitangi Day Commemorations is a fun day full of family activities including blacksmithing demonstrations, musical plays, children’s races and a Kōtukumairangi waka on the Ōpara River.



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