5 Compelling New Zealand Traditions You Should Know

Despite its young history, New Zealand is a country that boasts enthralling traditions. A combination of Maori quirks and European-based antics made it possible for this nation to mold its own kind of customs. If you are looking forward to witnessing this compelling heritage, make sure to secure that New Zealand ETA right away. And, to give an idea what awaits you there, here are a few of the country’s known traditions.



The Haka is a Maori dance traditionally-performed in the battlefield to stir up fear and display the strength of the Maori warriors. It involves wide eyes, loud stomps of the feet, and the famous tongue poking. Today, this action-packed dance is exhibited during Maori rituals, ceremonies, and when paying tribute to guests.


A sign of respect, the hongi is a customary greeting typically used for special occasions, done by pressing noses and foreheads together. The gesture signifies transferring breath of life from one individual to another. It is a usual practice when greeting visitors onto Maori communities, as well as during traditional ceremonies.


Powhiri is a traditional welcoming ceremony, which brings visitors to the meeting area in the center of the Maori community. The ritual starts typically with three warriors confronting the guests to check if they are arriving in their field in peace, while a female caller guide the visitors to them. Songs, speeches, and presentations usually flow, and the powhiri concludes with the hongi greeting mentioned above.


It’s time to get to the traditional way of Maori cooking. A hangi is a method of cooking food underground using heated rocks. Food is placed above the hot stones and topped with hessian bags or flax mat throughout the three-hour cooking process. The dishes are typically saved for special occasions, but you may have a taste of it should you participate in any Maori celebration throughout the country.


While Kiwiana is not a custom in a sense, these objects are something that New Zealanders cherish. Kiwiana celebrates cultural icons that are a part of the Kiwi identity and daily walk of life. Some of the things included in this list are the Edmonds Cookbook, Maori carvings, paua shells and the classic Buzzy Bee toy.

There are other fascinating New Zealand traditions beyond what is listed here. Go ahead, visit this great country, and discover what the Kiwis has to offer. Remember, it is better to experience things firsthand!