Polynesian people stepped onto these shores some 800–1,000 years ago. Over the following centuries, this country was a place of independent tribal groups who looked after their own territories and lived close to the land, physically and spiritually.
Eventually every part of the country was overseen by a particular iwi
iwitribeMāori | Noun or hapū
hapūsub-tribeMāori | Noun, each led by their own rangatira
rangatirachiefsMāori | Noun.
Ngā taonga nō te whenua, me hoki anō ki te whenua. What is gifted from the land should be returned to the land.
Visitors from afar
Over 235 years ago, new people began to arrive voyagers from Britain and Europe. They became known generally as Pākehā.
The people of the land, the tangata whenua, became known as Māori.
On Māori terms
Māori were interested in the goods and skills Pākehā had to offer. From about 1805, a few Māori began incorporating European skills and materials into their lives.
However, for many decades, Māori ways of life, values, and customs were almost unchanged by contact with Europe and Britain. Visitors from across the ocean entered the Māori world at their own risk.
Māori lived communally, with members of the village working together on day-to-day tasks. If visitors from another friendly iwi or hapū were expected, every effort was made to extend manākitanga
manākitangahospitalityMāori | noun. The hākari hākarifeastMāori | noun platform in this painting would later be piled high with food for an important gathering.