Māori NZ: Wellington

Referred to in legends as the 'mouth of Maui’s fish' and traditionally called Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the Wellington area became known to Māori in the mid-19th century as ‘Pōneke’ (a transliteration of Port Nick, short for Port Nicholas, its English name at the time).

The major iwi (tribes) of the region were Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa. Ngāti Toa was the iwi of Te Rauparaha, who composed the now famous Ka Mate haka. Like most urban areas the city is now home to Māori from many iwi, sometimes collectively known as Ngāti Pōneke.

New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, presents excellent displays on Māori culture, traditional and modern, as well as a colourful marae (traditional meeting place). In its gift shop you can see excellent carving and other crafts, as you can in both Kura and Ora galleries nearby.

Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, Kapiti Island Nature Tours and Kiwi Coastal Tours offer intimate insights into the Māori culture of the rugged coast around Wellington.