Wedding Traditions


The Amazing Tradition of Maori Weddings
According to the Maori folklore, a long time ago, on the Island of Mokoia, a great love was planted by the famous ancestors, Hinemoa and Tutanekai. Their great, endless love is evidenced in Maori history and the story is forever passed on from one generation to the next. To date, wedding nuptials that take place in Maori are carried out in the presence of their descendants, surrounded by the culture, lifestyle and tradition of the Polynesian Maori people.

About the Maori
New Zealand Traditional Maori Weddings is truly exclusive. It is what you could term an emotional wedding experience of the South Pacific. The wedding co-coordinators are Darren and Michelle Brown, who come from the proud line of tribal affiliations Rongowhakaata, Ngati Kahungungu, Ngai Tai and Ngapuhi.

Maori traditional weddings derive their culture values from a proud noble race known as Te Maori. Their wedding ceremonies are performed with a blessing from a priest (Maori Tohunga) and their sacred ancestry Takitimu Canoe, who migrated to New Zealand in AD 1000-1300.

The Ceremony
Maori Wedding Locations
There are recognized places where Maori weddings can take place. These include Mokoia Island, Tamaki Village, Pohutu Geyser, Aorangi Peak, Four Canoes and Fairy Springs.

Tamaki Village
This village is located on the outskirts of Rotorua, providing couples with a perfect setting of peace and calmness. The surrounding is green, in a natural forest, with mysterious wildlife. Thus the ceremony is performed within an actual forest.

Mokoia Island
It’s located at the centre of Lake Rotorua. It’s here that Hinemoa and Tutanekai planted their seed of love. Throughout the wedding procedure, the couple follows the famous steps taken by these young lovers.

Pohutu Geyser
This famous geyser is nature’s way of celebrating a wedding in true geothermal style. Couples are welcomed into geothermal hot springs, thermal geysers and bubbling hot mud pools. The Maori people believe this is a sacred place. As the ceremony takes place, the Pohutu Geyser rises to the occasion, demonstrating a spectacular display of power by gushing water higher than 25 meters into the air. This is quite a memorable place.

Aorangi Peak
Aorangi Peak, called “cloud of heaven” by the Maori people, is on Mount Ngongotaha and has spectacular surroundings and views that are breathtaking to witness on your wedding day. The Maori believe this is a sacred place that possesses supernatural power and is in the presence of their descendants.

Fairy Springs
A sacred spring of Tuhoe with historic and spiritual significance to the Maori people, its lush greenery, native flora and surrounding streams of living waters make it perfect for wedding ceremonies. The Maori people believe this is the water of life. They believe that if a rainbow appears over the spring, their prayers will be answered. They say that the crystal waters that flow from the springs renew your love as you enter into the bond of marriage.

Four Canoes
The four canoes include Takitimu, Horoutu, Te Arawa and the Mataatua. Throughout the journey, couples are guided by a school of whales. Takitimu Canoe is the most appropriate for a wedding ceremony. You can choose the canoe that suits you best.

Starting the Wedding Procedures

Te Karanga (Welcome Call)
Before entering the Maori location, echoes of the traditional Maori welcome call is heard across the courtyard. This invites the bride and groom to the sacred land.

Te Powhiri (Traditional Song and Dance)
After entering the village, a traditional song and dance for the bridal party is performed by the local tribe.

Korowai Ceremony (Marriage or Renewal of Vows)
The marriage ceremony is performed as a renewal of vows to each other. It is followed with a living and unique romantic gesture that reinforces both the husband and wife’s mutual love and respect for one another. The man then places a Korowai (Cloak of Love) around the woman, which symbolizes how his love will surround her for the rest of her life.

Te Manaakitanga (Priest’s blessing upon the couple)
When the ceremony is over, the Maori priest blesses the couple through prayer. After the blessing, people go forward to present Taonga (gifts) to the couple, symbolizing new beginnings and happiness.

When that is done, the Hongi follows. This involves the couple touching their noses, one to the other. This activity seals the Korowai Ceremony. The Maori people believe that, as the supreme God was creating man and woman, He breathed life into their nostrils. So, as the husband and wife perform this unique Maori custom, they unite their two breaths of life together as one being. This meaningful, intimate gesture symbolizes mutual love and respect.

Te Haere Atu (Departure)
The bridal party now departs in style, with a traditional Maori farewell song and dance.

Te Hakari (Wedding Feast and Celebrations)
Every wedding must have a feast and celebrations. The Maori do not neglect this important merriment. Preparations are always made to celebrate the couple’s wedding day. They have entertainment accompanied by a traditional Hangi feast at night. On this special night, the Maori tribe always honors the bride and the groom. When the party is over, the couple is allowed to go on their honeymoon.

Marriage Certificate
New Zealand offers this certificate to anyone as long as they are legally free to marry.

If you want to get married, then New Zealand is the place to be. Many people give accounts of their unforgettable wedding ceremony and experiences. The good thing, too, is that you are allowed to include some of your own cultural beliefs and traditions.


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