Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand. It's a region of contrast and a wide range of culture, historic sights and activities.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the local tribe, Ngati Whatua, and experience real Maori culture, learn about their legends, visit Maori Pa and Reserves, enjoy their art and ancient treasures.
Permanent skin marking is known as ta moko, and distinct from tattooing, the skin is actually carved, not punctured. It is left with grooves rather than a smooth surface.
The art was brought by Maori from eastern Polynesia. In pre-European Maori culture, many, if not most, high-ranking persons received moko, and those without were seen as persons of lower social status. The receiving of moko was an important market between childhood and adulthood and accompanied by many rites and rituals. Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks and thighs. Women wore moko on their lips and chins. Other body parts to have moko include forehead, neck, backs, stomachs and calves.
There are many operators offering Maori-based tours around Auckland.
Potiki Adventures specialised in personalised indigenous food tours. They travel to the outskirts of Auckland and focus on the Maori people, places and their hospitality.
Tamaki Hikoi Maori Walks run every day and follow an ancient Maori trail in the heart of Auckland. They take in famous landmarks such as Maungawahu, a dormant volcano and Waitemata Harbour. Expert guides from Ngati Whatua give historical interpretation along the way.
They also offer a one hour guided walk around Maungawhau and highlight features of the volcanic cone, traditional customs and stories which shaped the city.
Auckland War Memorial was established in 1852 as the first guardian of New Zealand's national treasures. It is regarded as one of the finest museums in the Southern Hemisphere.
It houses the country's largest collection of Maori and Pacific Island artefacts, including a waka war canoe from 1830. It has a photographic collection of 1.2 million images and 1.5 million specimens from the fields of botany, entomology, geology, land vertebrates and marine biology.
Cultural performances can be seen three times a day. They show poi dancing, the stick game, haka and a weaponry display.