If there is something worth knowing about New Zealand, it is the importance of Maori culture in the history of the country. A population that has been in the territory since before the English arrived and that, fortunately, has known how to preserve itself over time and in the territory.
And although regarding the Maori culture in New Zealand It is not a pretty story, understanding how this situation has evolved and how it has progressed will help you learn more about what you can expect from this destination and what you should take into account when arriving in the country.
If you are thinking about take an English course in New Zealand, today we present everything you need to know about Maori culture.
What is Maori culture?
Long before the first European settlements arrived on this island there were the Maori, a large native population that protected their territory from the arrival of European explorers.
Its culture includes a language and ways of life that were very characteristic of Polynesian cultures and that were frowned upon by the first European Christian missionaries who arrived on the island after the establishment of the first European settlements.
But the Maori were warriors by nature, so although they could exchange certain products and activities with Europeans, when they wanted to occupy more land, the Maori put up great resistance to the Europeans to avoid losing their ancestral lands and traditions.
This did not change until 1840, when the Treaty of Waitingi, a document signed by representatives of the British crown and several leaders of the northern tribes of New Zealand. A document that established New Zealand as a nation for the first time.
However, this treaty later presented many problems between the British and the Maori tribes over the word Kawanatanga.
For the Maori this word was a concept of sovereignty where they allowed the British to coexist on the island with the protection of the British crown, but that sovereignty remained with the Maori people. However, in the English version the Maori handed over sovereignty to the crown and submitted to it.
This problem caused Maori culture and territory to disappear little by little due to British imposition and the great urbanization that occurred in the 20th century.
Typical customs of the Maori culture
Although its history during colonialism was quite complicated, Maori culture has not been isolated from other Western cultures, whether from residents or visitors.
Many of the current inhabitants of the New Zealand territory are a cultural mix between the British and the Maori (some more than others) and many of them have preserved much of the Maori culture. And you will be able to see and experience much of it on your study trip.
One of the most interesting things you can see in New Zealand from the Maori culture is the Haka: A ceremonial dance that is done at special moments such as before a battle or at a wedding.
In recent years the Haka has become very popular, since the New Zealand national Rugby team does it before matches and made this Maori tradition visible to the rest of the world.
Another detail worth highlighting is its style of food that you can enjoy while You are doing your study trip in New Zealand.
This method of cooking is considered to be an earth oven, in which they heat volcanic rocks that are then buried in the earth next to a basket with food for several hours, and then take them out of this hole to taste a unique flavor of its kind. .
Maori culture today
Currently, this culture has gained great relevance on the world stage and there is a great commitment to preserve its customs and give it greater recognition in the world.
The British Crown has even begun a reparation process for Maori culture to establish Maori settlements, ensure the protection of Maori cultural and land rights.
Even in major cities like Wellington and Hamilton you can find museums that highlight art and Maori culture so that visitors can learn more about this native culture.
Do you want to know this culture in New Zealand? Contact us and learn more about our programs.