Maraes, (communal "plaza" areas where the Maori people meet), provide a focus for social, cultural and spiritual life within the Maori community. The Marae includes a wharenui (meeting house) and wharekai (dining room).
Maori people define themselves by their tribe, or iwi. Family is very important within the Maori culture, and encompasses immediate family, in-laws and all those connected by blood ties.
Dance for the Maori people is a very important part of their culture. Kapa haka (Maori performance art), incorporates singing, dancing and facial expressions. Each action within the dance has a meaning, tying it to the words. The traditional Maori war dance, known as the haka, is performed by the All Blacks (our National Rugby Team), before each game.
Hongi and Moko The customary Maori greeting is to press noses, "hongi", as opposed to a kiss on the cheek. Up close and personal, you might notice striking full-face tattoos on many Maori men, and lip and chin markings on women. Known as ta moko, the swirl-and-spiral style markings were once sacred signs of social status, while modern Maori don them to highlight their culture.