New Zealand Culture

By | October 13, 2021

Indigenous traditions and influences of European and Asian ethnic groups merged into the multicultural society of New Zealand. The Māori language and culture have received sustained promotion since the 1970s and are now ubiquitous in the media and everyday life. Christian festivals as well as ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day are the most important holidays. Respect, solidarity, a sense of responsibility, teamwork and the pursuit of success shape New Zealanders from childhood. This finds inter alia. public expression in the motto of some schools »Ad astra per aspera« (meaning: through toughness to success) and the ritual Māori dance »haka«. In the past, as now, it was used to greet and honor guests or to intimidate enemies or (sporty) opponents. Visit cellphoneexplorer for Oceania Travel Guide.

New Zealand’s literature is rich in lyric, epic and dramatic works. One of the outstanding storytellers of the past is K. Mansfield . Well-known contemporary authors include K. Hulme , P. Grace , Alan Duff (* 1950) and Witi Ihimaera (* 1944), the crime writer Paul Cleave (* 1974) and the young adult author Bernard Beckett (* 1967). Works by Māori are increasingly being published in their language.

In addition to a wide range of international films, there are also notable local productions. The films “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” by director P. Jackson , shot on the South Island, are successful at home and abroad, as are New Zealand-themed films such as “Once Were Warriors” (1994), “Whale Rider” (2002) or Taika Waititis “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016).

The classical, electronic and experimental music as well as the bands and soloists of popular music played and heard in New Zealand are just as international. But on Spotify there are also millions of hits on local singer-songwriters and bands such as Lorde, Benee, Tiki Taane or The Naked and Famous.

New Zealand art emerged from Polynesian and European traditions (oceanic art). Tattoos (ta moko), wood carving (whakairo) and traditional weaving with New Zealand flax (harakeke) are part of the ethnic and religious self-image of the Māori. These art forms are present in public life, in museums, galleries and souvenir shops. Artfully designed green jade stones, once weapons of the indigenous people, became the coveted jewelry of Māori and Pākehā. The painting began with Charles Goldie (* 1870, † 1947) and the surrealist Frances Hodgkins (* 1869, † 1947) and led to the most important New Zealand landscape painter Mountford Tosswill Woollaston (* 1910, † 1998). Theaters in Wellington and other major cities as well as Māori theaters play classical works as well as contemporary pieces, e.g. B. by Bruce Mason (* 1921, † 1983) and the Māori author Hone Tuwhare (* 1922, † 2008).


Diverse cultural and art events attract local and foreign visitors, e. B. Matariki, Māori New Year in June, Dunedin Fashion Week, Hobbit Day, Queenstown Winter Festival and Art Deco Weekend in Napier.

New Zealanders love sports and all kinds of outdoor activities, and most of them love the All Blacks rugby team. Not only young people are drawn to extreme sports such as bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, abseiling, ice climbing.

World Heritage Sites in New Zealand

World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)

  • Te Wahipounamu nature reserve with Westland, Mount Cook and Fiordland National Park (N; 1990)
  • Tongariro National Park (K / N; 1990)
  • Sub-Antarctic Islands (N; 1998)

The joy dance in New Zealand

Intimidating the enemy – the Maori haka dance

New Zealand rugby fans know it no different: When one of their teams comes to the game, they perform a strange dance before the first kick – the haka. It is a Maori war dance with the help of which the opponent is to be intimidated. In addition, the dance should prepare its own players for the task ahead, arouse determination and commitment. The entire body is used for this purpose – all limbs, including the voice and eyes.

The dance is not led by the captain, but traditionally by the player who is closest to Maori culture. The hands make symbolic movements, the tongue is stuck out and the eyes are rolled terribly. The dancers do not follow a given scheme, but can let their creativity and spontaneity run free when interpreting the singing.

The Maori also know the haka as a dance of joy. According to legend, it came about when the chief Te Rauparaha of the Ngati Toa tribe had to hide in a pit under sweet potatoes while fleeing from his enemies. After the danger was over, he climbed out of the pit and saw someone standing over him. Already preparing for death, however, he recognized the chief of a local tribe. He greeted Te Rauparaha in a friendly manner, who then performed a spontaneous dance of joy.

The text sung to the haka dance reads: »Ka mate, ka mate! Ka ora, ka ora! Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra! A hupane, kaupane, a hupane, kaupane whiti te ra! Hi! “(” It is death, it is death! It is life, it is life! Here is the man who makes it possible for me to live as I climb step by step to the sunlight! “).

New Zealand Culture