Traditional Māori culture and customs

Image: Kapa haka by Tony on Flickr

We have selected these online resources to support you when you need information relating to Traditional Māori culture and customs. This includes tikanga, whakapapa, arts, craft and waiata. SCIS 1698570


Learn about the history of Haka, the types and protocols, and how the Haka has become a national and international icon of New Zealand.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

He Whakapapa Reo Māori - Short history of Māori language

Prior to the 19th century Māori language was a spoken language and the sole language of communication. This site has other useful links listed down the left-hand side to information about protocol, myths and legends, proverbs, and waiata.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Māori arts and culture

This Christchurch City Library site provides a gateway to a variety of information relating to Māori art and culture. Here you can learn about the stories behind tukutuku patterns, the importance of harakeke, Māori medicine, kai, and many other aspects of Māori life and culture.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Māori culture

This site looks a wide variety of Māori culture and customs. Discover aspects of tikanga, whakapapa, whakairo, waiata, myths and legends, and more.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Māori life and culture

This site also provides a gateway to information about Māori history, culture, protocol, plant use, language, and an overview of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate.āori.asp


To discover information on the home work site ManyAnswers use the search term Māori.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Primary Source gallery - Māori

In this gallery you will find a range of primary sources relating to early contact with Māori by Pākehā up to and including the 1860s.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Taonga Māori at Te Papa

Search through Te Papa’s extensive collection of digital images of Māori taonga.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Te Ara – the encyclopedia of New Zealand

The Te Ara website has extensive information on Māori history, life, and culture including:

The story of Māori
Describes the arrival of Māori to New Zealand, subsequent settlement and traditional culture.

Māori New Zealanders
Explores Māori origins, early migrations including canoe traditions and navigation, and tribal organisation in New Zealand.

Keyword search for Māori topics
To find other entries on aspects of Māori culture click on the Keywords heading on the left-hand side. Scroll down the page and click on the heading Māori life and traditions then select your topic or story on the righthand side.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Have you thought about using fiction with your class to support your topic? The following are some suggestions for your students (and you!) to read and enjoy.

A canoe in the mist, by Elsie Locke, 2005 (fiction)
The house of the people, by R.L.Bacon, 1983 (picture book)
Hunter, by Joy Cowley, 2005 (fiction)
The Koroua and Mauri stone, by Robyn Kahukiwa, 1994 (picture book)
Tales from the swamp, by Kingi McKinnon, 2006 (fiction)
The seven stars of Matariki, Toni Rolleston-Cummins, 2008 (picture book)


Māori stick and poi. Kirstin Rowan. YouTube. 6:26.

How Maui slowed the sun. darkhizzle. YouTube. 5:08