Your starting point is the past—the Auckland Museum in the Domain. With the biggest collection of Maori and Pacific artifacts in the world, including a Maori meeting house, the site will inform you about Auckland’s unique culture—through to modern immigrants. The museum also features daily Maori cultural performances, culminating in the impressive Haka war dance (made famous by the All Blacks) and traditional waiata (songs) that are endorsed by the local iwi (tribe) Ngāti Whātua.

Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in the world, and the biggest Polynesian festival is Pacifika. This two-day event, held at Western Springs Park every March, gives you the opportunity to experience 11 different Pacific cultures all in one place—through taste, dance, and song. Ever more popular is Matariki, the Maori New Year (in June), marked by celebrations and performances throughout the city. Auckland’s large Chinese community is honored every year at the Lantern Festival in Albert Park; go early to beat the crowds, but late enough to catch the lamps at twilight.