Te Papa - Maori Highlights Tour
Wellington, New Zealand
- Tools: See centuries-old walking sticks, fish hooks made from wood and shell, stones sharpened into blades, bone chisels and spades used in construction, plus spears and other weapons of war.
- Artwork: The designs and patterns the Maori created on masks, scrolls, sculptures, paintings, and other artifacts are still prominent themes in New Zealand, from art and architecture to tattoos.
- Clothing: The Maori people created necklaces, headdresses and rudimentary sandals, but their most well-known article of clothing is the kakahu, a woven cloak that did everything from conveying status to protecting the wearer from rain.
About This Wellington Tour
By the time humans began settling New Zealand, civilizations in Asia and Europe already had land mines, eyeglasses, and magnetized compasses. This relatively late start shaped the culture of those first settlers: the Maori.
As soon as the first canoes landed there in the 13th century, the Maori realized that this new place wasn't like their homeland in Polynesia. The island was completely devoid of mammals, so the Maori devised simple yet effective fishing hooks and lures out of bone and tooth to catch food from the sea.
The dearth of large animals was bad news for the native moa, a massive flightless bird that stood 12 feet tall and weighed over 500 pounds: an ostrich on steroids. Since the moa was one of the only large animal species on an island that hadn't seen nature's more advanced land-based predators, it only took the Maori about a century to hunt the big bird into extinction, using everything from handled wooden clubs to bone spears.
The Maori also had to get used to a new climate. To deal with unaccustomed rain and cold, they wove together leaves, bird feathers, and plant fibers to create complex cloaks that also indicated tribal ranking. The most exalted cape was the kaha kuri, made from dog skin with white hair sewn on.
Sacred and important items are collectively referred to by the Maori as taonga, a word that means treasure. The museum's full name, Te Papa Tongarewa, translates to "container of treasures." These Maori weapons, tools, clothing, and ritual garments aren't just aesthetic treasures: They tell the story of an island that fostered the development of one of the world's most sophisticated and distinct pre-European cultures.
Stamps of approval
One of the Maori's most interesting traditions is the haka, a ritualistic group war dance of loud chanting, stamping feet, and chest-beating. The Maori used it as a show of tribal strength that would intimidate opponents, but it was also a gesture of respect and welcoming. Today it's used by New Zealand's sports teams for motivation, and performed at weddings to honor the bride and groom.
Please make your way to 55 Cable St, Wellington to begin your adventure.
This tour offers independent exploration, giving you maximum flexibility to GoBe whatever and wherever you like and for the amount of time you wish to spend.
Travelers must walk roughly 500 yards over carpeted surfaces with about 40 steps. Tour is wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Tickets, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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