Māori Cultural Performance

Traditional song and dance

Our Māori cultural performance is world-class, with Te Pitowhenua, our resident performing arts group, delivering a high-energy show that will leave you spellbound.

This authentic live cultural performance begins with a traditional wero (challenge), followed by a pōwhiri (welcome) and full cultural performance that includes waiata (songs), poi, and the world famous haka (war dance), all situated inside the beautifully carved meeting house (Te Whare Rūnanga).

Poi twirling, Māori weaponry, Māori songs, haka (war dance) and more!

The Waitangi cultural performance begins with a traditional Māori welcome (pōwhiri), complete with challenge, or wero, before moving inside the carved meeting house, Te Whare Rūnanga. Be enthralled by the graceful movements of the poi, Māori weaponry, stick games, waiata (songs) and a traditional haka (war dance) that will have you completely captivated. After the show there is an opportunity to meet the performers, ask questions and take photos with them as special momentos of your visit to Waitangi.

Traditional Māori performing arts – known as kapa haka – have been handed down through the generations and help keep alive the stories, history and traditions of Māori culture. Kapa haka is the term for Māori performing arts and literally means to form a line (kapa) and dance (haka). Kapa haka is regularly performed today by cultural groups on marae, at schools, and during special events, festivals and competitions.

Evening Performance_med res

Telling the stories of Māori history through cultural performance

Included in this powerful experience, Waitangi’s performers demonstrate traditional weapons, such as taiaha (spear-like weapons) and patu (clubs), to explain how they were once used in battle. Behind each of the songs and live demonstrations is an explanation about the role of the song or action in history.

As an example, both men and women traditionally used poi to help strengthen their wrists and improve flexibility for wielding weapons during wartime. Likewise, the haka played an important role in traditional Māori warfare as it was considered respectful to let your intentions be known before heading into battle. The New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, famously perform a haka before every game and we believe our performance is definitely one to match that of the All Blacks!