The Maori People


  • The Haka, an ancient Maori war dance, was used commonly on a battlefield.
  • The ta moko was a traditional form of body tatooing.
  • The Maori diet fish, birds, herbs, and roots.
  • Traditional clothing was made up of shoulder and waist garments with belts and sometimes sandals.
  • Some cultural jobs include hunters, gatherers, and crop farmers.
  • An accustomed Maori greeting was known as the hongi. This is where two people press their heads and noses together and breathe in.
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Maori's Today

  • 15% of New Zealanders are of Maori descent; 682,000 out of 4,433,000 people.
  • Maori music artists are popular in New Zealand. Awards like the Apra Maihoa Award recognize excellent Maori musicians.
  • Recently a revival of Ta Moko has occurred in New Zealand.
  • Many Maoris today have lost touch with their culture. For example, many Maoris forget which tribe they originally belonged to.
  • 128,430 people of Maori descent live in Australia today. (1/3 were born there)
  • Maori culture is still honored today. In fact, the famous New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks perform a haka before each game as a challenge to the rival team.
All Black's Haka + Translation


  • Tohi, a ceremony performed on babies during their birth, dedicated a child to a god or goddesses.
  • In Maori belief, each person had a power called mana inherited from their ancestors. Babies and priests had the most of it.
  • According to legend, the children of the Earth mother (Papatuanuku) and the sky father (Ranginui) were Tine (god of the forest), Tangaroa (god of the sea), Rongo (god of cultivated food) and Tumatauenga (god of war). Tine created the first woman and married her, creating humans.
  • The Maori believe that a persons' soul is called Wairu; it could leave the body and go wandering.
  • Tohunga (priests) assisted people with special incantaions and rites to appease the gods.

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