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Maori Carving

New Zealand History and culture

History and culture holidays in New Zealand

Introduction

When Captain Cook arrived in New Zealand in 1769 the Maoris had already been there for 400 years or so, having arrived from Polynesia in ocean-going canoes. The symbols of Maori culture are pervasive in modern New Zealand, and there are a great many sites that are worth making the time to explore. Our holidays also incorporate tours through some of the country's most beautiful regions.

Visit Hamilton and Waikato, home to the king of the Maori

Until the 19th century, the Maori were a number of often quite separate tribes, each with their own chief. However, growing European settlement around Hamilton lead to some of the tribes uniting to make a Kingitanga, or kingship. Hamilton is also the region that was thought to be the landing spot of the very first canoes to arrive from Polynesia. Some more recent canoes – though still 200 years old - can be seen in the Waikato Museum. If you can visit in the middle of March, the highlight of the area is the annual Turangawaewae Regatta – a spectacle of Maori war canoes racing on the Waikato river.

Hear the story of New Zealand, as told by Maori people

As with many cultures of Polynesian origin, Maori storytelling reflects the culture’s relationship with the sea, the most famous story being how the demi-god Maui fished the North Island from the sea. Seeking to eclipse his envious brothers, who had also gone out fishing, Maui fashioned a hook from an ancient jawbone and eventually caught a massive fish, the head of which is said to be the North Island of the country – the South being Maui’s canoe, or Te Waka a Maui in Maori. Visit the renowned Waitangi Treaty Grounds, or take a guided tour through the Northland’s Waipoua forest, complete with stories of Maori legend, to get a strong sense of New Zealand's heritage.

Let us tailor make your trip with an even balance of culture and nature

Our New Zealand travel consultants can help advise you on how best to incorporate historical sites on your trip – in particular how to get the most from your holiday while still relaxing, and enjoying high-end accommodation throughout your journey.

Our top itineraries for New Zealand History and culture

Queenstown, New Zealand

Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,865 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Flight offer – Save up to £105pp
Book by: 05 March 2020

With boutique hotel stays and car hire included throughout, this curated road trip perfectly showcases the unique cultures and natural wonders of New Zealand's North and South islands.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Cultural Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,365 pp incl. flights

A tip-to-toe tour of New Zealand, taking in the best of its landscapes and culture, and calling into filming locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Port Douglas beach, Queensland, Australia

Australia and New Zealand Discoverer

21-day tailor-made holiday from £4,115 pp incl. flights

This tailor-made holiday combines the best that Australia and New Zealand have to offer. You'll explore New Zealand's world-famous glaciers and remote fjords with a self-drive before discovering Australia's sacred Ayers Rock, stunning beaches and delightful waterside cities.

Maui Ultima Elite

New Zealand by Motorhome

20-day motorhome self-drive from £2,965 pp incl. flights

From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.

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Top offers for New Zealand History and culture

Queenstown, New Zealand

Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,865 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Flight offer – Save up to £105pp
Book by: 05 March 2020

With boutique hotel stays and car hire included throughout, this curated road trip perfectly showcases the unique cultures and natural wonders of New Zealand's North and South islands.

Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

New Zealand Getaway

19-day escorted tour from £3,645 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Early booking offer – Save up to £400pp
Book by: 29 February 2020

This New Zealand Getaway, Travelmarvel by APT escorted tour offers great value and is ideal for those looking to see all the highlights of New Zealand in the company of others, with expert guides and a comfortable hotel at the end of your action-packed days.

Self Drive, Mt Cook, New Zealand

New Zealand Wonderland

20-day escorted tour from £5,095 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Early booking offer – Save up to £500pp
Book by: 29 February 2020

Discover the best New Zealand has to offer on this comprehensive and popular and fully-guided tour with APT Touring.

View all offers

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

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Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 50 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

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  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected