New Zealand Brought Their Maori Culture To Centre Stage

New Zealand Brought Their Maori Culture To Centre Stage
The New Zealand Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020

A unique and ancient blend of people, environment, and spirit culminate at Expo 2020.

The Expo 2020 in Dubai ran from October 1st, 2021 to March 31st, 2022, and one country, in particular, had big plans to share its rich culture, heritage, and stories on the world’s biggest stage. The local Maori people call it ‘Aotearoa’ but we know it as ‘New Zealand’. A land of diversity and strength, New Zealand’s history is an interesting one, having over time merged its Indigenous Maori traditions with more modern customs, to create a unique world-renowned island culture.

Planted in the Sustainability District, the New Zealand pavilion at the Expo 2020 reflected the ancient Maori value of ‘kaitiakitanga’, which means ‘kinship’ between people and their environment, or, more loosely translated, “Care for People and Place”. Visitors to this pavilion will feel the warm spirit of the Maori people, as they learn all about this absorbing culture.


To reflect the New Zealand people’s roles as ‘guardians’ across their lands, the New Zealand pavilion embraced the country’s creativity, integrity, and forward-thinking ways. The pavilion will demonstrate the intersection between New Zealand’s values, businesses, technologies, and creative storytelling. Attendees will be treated to various exhibitions, hosting venues, and even a restaurant.

Designed by architect Jasmax, New Zealand’s innovative pavilion was inspired by ‘waka taonga’. ‘Waka taonga’ are receptacles created by the Maori people, which are used to protect items of traditional and historical value. Among them, are the ancient containers of ‘waka huia’ and ‘papahou’, said to store, protect and maintain New Zealand values and practices. These artifacts are meant to be passed down from generation to generation, to keep the connection between people and the environment. As a result, the pavilion will be designed to look like a ‘waka taonga’, with large screen panels wrapping around the pavilion, and representing a receptacle.

At New Zealand’s pavilion, keen learners will be able to observe New Zealand treasures such as the ‘waka huia’, which has been intricately carved with dog-tooth pattern notches, parallel grooves, and ‘double rauru spirals’.

In its 360-degree approach, New Zealand’s participation at the Expo 2020 will aim to ‘shift the perception of New Zealand through its inherent innovative and authentic approach’ to caring for people and the environment. Designed to promote New Zealand as a trade and investment partner, as well as a place for tourism and education, this island nation will put its best foot forward to impress visitors.


Even though New Zealand is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most beautiful countries, little do people know of its high liveability and sustainability. This small country does well across several sectors, and this fact will be put on display during the Expo 2020 in Dubai.

In 2019, The World Bank ranked New Zealand number one out of 190 economies in terms of ‘ease of doing business’. The Reputation Institute named it the fifth best partner for international reputation. Moreover, New Zealand claims to have an impressive NZD 6+ billion worth of investment opportunities in the country.

When compared internationally, New Zealand is the top-rated English-speaking country for education, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit Educating for the Future Index in 2018. New Zealand is also one of the world’s most impressive tourist destinations – with 90% of visitors stating that they were highly satisfied with their New Zealand experience, according to Tourism New Zealand.

These are facets that New Zealand displayed at Expo 2020.


Before you visit the New Zealand pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, it’s time you get acquainted with this gorgeous country. Here are some things you may not have known about New Zealand.

The country is split into two halves – the North Island and the South Island. The North Island generally enjoys warmer, sunnier weather and is where the capital city of Auckland is, while the South Island is home to gorgeous alps and commonly snows each year. Cultural capital Wellington and tourist magnets Christchurch and Queenstown can also be found on the South Island.

New Zealanders don’t have a particularly distinct cuisine but do proudly boast about some of their local favorites, such as their world-class seafood, roast lamb, excellent cheese and wine, and famous fish and chips.

Rugby and golf are New Zealand’s most popular sports. Rugby is seen as a religion in the country, with New Zealand’s national team, the ‘All Blacks’ seen as heroes. An ocean country and marine nation, the capital city Auckland has the largest number of boats per capita in the entire world.

New Zealand’s nature is second to none in the world. Featuring breathtaking mountains, deep ravines, and awe-inspiring fjords, this country’s beauty is so unparalleled, that legendary movies such as ‘Once Were Warriors’, ‘The Piano’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy have been shot there. If you visit the North Island, you can find the grounds of ‘Hobbiton’, which features several filming locations for The Lord of the Rings movies.

Whether it’s learning about New Zealand’s people, many initiatives, delicious food, or spellbinding nature, there’s much to learn at the New Zealand pavilion during next year’s Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Ready to explore this fascinating land of nature, culture, and diversity? You can visit the New Zealand pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, which runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.