There are many places which have stopped time in its track, including sprawling mansions, historic cottages, old cities and hotels, aged towns and breweries and many others. But the nation of New Zealand despite being quite young compared to other countries in the world still abounds in Maori heritage sites that can be accessed by both local as well as foreign history enthusiasts. So, if you are planning to visit the land of the kiwis, make sure to book a ride in advance from any New Zealand car hire company and get ready to unfold the timeless charms that the Maori heritage wealth of this country holds.
The most important place bearing the evidence of New Zealand’s historical riches is the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which overlooks the harbour of Waitemata and occupies one of the grandest heritage buildings in the country. It houses a large collection of Maori treasures and ever changing local as well as international exhibitions, provides remarkable natural history, and hosts daily cultural performances of the Maoris. For the natives, the place is nothing short of a spiritual and cultural touchstone.
Next comes the Waikato and Hamilton region in North Island, which bears its own cloak of cultural heritage. The place is famous for being the residence of the Maori King, and also as the ultimate resting ground of a great voyaging Tainui Waka (canoe) that arrived almost eight centuries ago. When Europeans started settling in the place during the 1800s, the Maoris formed the Kingitanga or King Movement for uniting themselves and protecting their land. Pōtatau Te Wherowhero was the first monarch, and his descendants assume the position of king or queen even to this day.
One of the most popular heritage attractions in Hamilton is the Waikato museum, which holds plenty of exhibitions that pay tribute to Maori history. The Te Winika Gallery of the museum displays a majestically carved war canoe of the Maoris known as waka tua. The magnificent exhibit is almost 200 years old, and was presented as a gift to the museum in 1973 by deceased Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.
The Bay of Plenty enjoys the privilege of being the anchoring place of three out of the seven canoes, using which the Maoris migrated to New Zealand during the 14th century. Among historic attractions of this region are included the Elms Mission House established in 1847, and the sacred Mount Maunganui.
So while planning a trip to New Zealand, be sure to include the above mentioned sites in your checklist.
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