The best way to experience New Zealand is by learning about the Maori, the indigenous people of this remarkable country.
Maori culture is deeply spiritual, which is just one of the reasons I loved visiting New Zealand. I also appreciated learning about how the Maori are experiencing a renaissance that was exhilarating–and often moving–to experience.
The following links highlight a tour of New Zealand focused on Maori tourism.
First, I hope you’ll spare a moment to sympathize with the plight of a travel writer visiting New Zealand. It’s been awful. I’ve combed through a thesaurus and found that there are only a small number of synonyms for “gorgeous.” I’ve sorted through more than a thousand pictures and have had to make agonizing decisions over which images I will feature online and with my articles.
I’ve re-read my notes and realize that I could tell you about hundreds of extraordinary places and describe encounters with dozens of fascinating people—but I also realize that you, dear readers, have lives apart from this website and may not have the time to read thousands of words about my travels there.
So let me tell you about my time in New Zealand, focusing only on what impressed me the most. I’ll resist the urge to post hundreds of pictures. I’ll follow the lead of the New Zealand highway commission and only use the word “scenic” if something is so spectacular it made me gasp upon first seeing it.
To the Maori, New Zealand is Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud. When the Maori came to these islands more than eight centuries ago, they had traveled thousands of miles by canoe from tropical islands in Polynesia. And then they came upon sights like the one in the photograph below. To this day, visitors are still awestruck by New Zealand. Including me.
- Maori Renaissance
- The Maori Welcome Ceremony
- The Marae, the Heart of Maori Life
- Strong Maori Women
- Whale Rider Country (Gisborne)
- The Sacred Kauri Trees
- Maori Culture in the Bay of Islands
- Wharariki Beach: A Portal Between Worlds
- Contact New Zealand Tourism
Before visiting New Zealand, I hope you’ll also read my book Near the Exit: Travels With the Not-So-Grim Reaper, which is about places that have helped me come to terms with mortality. One of its chapters describes my experiences traveling with the Maori.
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Lori Erickson is one of America’s top travel writers specializing in spiritual journeys. She’s the author of the Near the Exit: Travels With the Not-So-Grim Reaper and Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God. Her website Spiritual Travels features holy sites around the world.