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Māori culture carries a strong sense of family (whanau) and pride in history and iwi (tribe) links. Important myths and legends are passed down through generations by way of oral storytelling and observing cultural and special customs. Here we look at some key aspects of the culture and the customs that define Māoridom.
Respecting Tikanga (Māori Customs)
Tikanga are traditional Māori customary practices, behaviours and values. They are considered a guideline for day-to-day life and need to be observed during interaction with the Māori culture. The concepts of Tikanga are constant but the practices do differ between iwi and hapu (sub-tribe).
It is important to be aware of two key aspects of Tikanga — Manaakitanga and Kaitiatikanga:
Visiting a Marae
If you are studying in New Zealand, a trip to a Māori marae or wharenui (meeting house) and taking part in a powhiri (welcome ceremony) is highly recommended during your stay. Particular protocol must be followed when on a Pa (village), in a marae and during a powhiri. Check out our post that takes you step-by-step through the powhiri and provides guidelines for expected behaviour on a marae.
Practising Te Reo
Now that you’ve read about tikanga Māori and visiting a marae, you might like to take some time to learn about Te Reo — the Māori language. For a short guide to Māori words and their meaning you can check out our post here. You could also take a look at this guide to place name pronunciation and use this Māori dictionary to help with your translation and pronunciation. To learn more you can read about where to experience Māori culture first-hand, right here. Haere ra, kia kaha!