Answers from Our Experts (1)
There isn’t anything too quirky about the customs in Auckland.
However, if you step outside of the major city you may find yourself getting involved in traditional Maori customs. The most well-known is the haka – a war dance that you’ve probably seen the All Blacks practice before a rugby game. As a visitor you will not be called upon to perform the haka, but if you are lucky enough to witness a Maori welcoming ceremony you may be called to confront the intimidating ritual. You may also be encouraged to greet a Maori person with nose-to-nose and forehead-to-forehead contact, called a hongi. The tradition indicates a sharing of the breath of life.
I find the Maori culture to be peaceful and welcoming, not unlike the way New Zealanders are living their life all over the country. They are grateful, warm and welcoming people, and the best customary thing you can do is reciprocate that behavior.