When you visit Kaikoura you can learn about the rich history of Māori culture and how New Zealand’s indigenous people are today maintaining their culture. The region in and around Kaikoura is important for Māori.
The name Kaikōura, when simplified into English, can translate to food (kai) and crayfish (kōura). Kaikoura is still famous for its crayfish today but this has long been an important source of food for the Māori inhabitants.
The original name of the Kaikoura Peninula, long before it was developed into how we see it today, was Taumanu-o-te-Waka-a-Maui.
At Kaikoura’s South Bay at the start of the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, where thousands of people visit annually, stands a magnificent and large carved sculpture depicting a Māori fisherman.
Kaikoura’s tangata whenua (people of the land) Te Runanga o Kaikōura (New Zealand South Island Māori) have collaborated with North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery to install culturally significant artworks along Kaikoura’s main coastal highway.
A range of stunning works are now on display: carved tribal pillars including Pouwhenua and Tekoteko, murals and information signs at stop off locations are all featured.
Each art piece represents Māori connection to the land and culture and the hope is that visitors and locals alike will not only come to enjoy the area’s famous whales and marine adventure, but also to learn about Māori history and culture and be inspired by the spectacular works of art and their meaning to Māori people.