Before it was colonized by Westerners, New Zealand was settled by seafaring Maori people from the Pacific, and you can visit various Maori sites and have Maori cultural experiences in places like Rotorua. From carving greenstone or jade pendants to witnessing the famous Haka, if you dig around and look hard enough, you’ll see Maori culture and history everywhere in New Zealand.
The two main wine festivals are Toast Martinborough on the North Island in November, and the Marlborough Wine Festival in February on the South Island. New Zealand’s version of Independence Day, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Maoris and the British Crown, takes place every year on February 6. Also in February, Wellington comes alive with the Sevens, when seven rugby teams compete, creating a massive party in Wellington. If adventurous eating is your thing, then be sure to check out the Hokitika Wild Food Festival in March, where you can try anything and everything.