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"Muturangi, do something about your octopus, or I'll do it for you."
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Kupe was a 10th-century figure who was involved in the Polynesian discovery of New Zealand. He leads the Māori in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm.

As the only civilization that starts with access to ocean navigation, the Mа̄ori have a unique opportunity to choose a desirable coastal homeland that they can cherish and protect.


Kupe the Navigator, you named the land of the long white cloud, and now you are called upon to settle new lands. Protect and honor the land and sea, just as your Toas protect your people. The Mа̄ori will guard the world’s natural beauty for all the ages after.


Kupe's unique agenda is Kaitiakitanga. He respects the environment and likes leaders who do the same.

His leader ability is Kupe's Voyage. He begins the game in an Ocean tile and receives +2 Civ6Science Science and Civ6Culture Culture per turn prior to founding his first city. He receives a free Builder and +1 Citizen6 Population when he founds his first city, and his Palace provides +3 Housing6 Housing and +1 Amenities6 Amenity.

Detailed ApproachEdit

The Mа̄ori start the game with Kupe leading them on their voyage across the sea from their mythical homeland of Hawaiki. They must scout for a choice spot to settle and then use their powerful initial city to get caught up quickly. They tread gently on the environment, avoiding clearing forests and harvesting resources, but getting strong yields immediately from coastal and woodland resources. Upon unlocking the Toa, they should make sure their empire is well-defended with a series of Pа̄ fortresses; set up effectively they make any attempt at attacking the Maori exceptionally costly.


Kupe is voiced by TeArahi Napi Maipi. He speaks Māori.


Agenda-based Approval: Your land stays green and your waters are clean and clear. Choice. (Ka matomato tonu te whenua. Ka ora! Ka waitī tonu ngā wai. Kei whea mai!)

Agenda-based Disapproval: You pile filth on the land and dump it in the sea! You waste and spoil the world! (Ka pūkaitia, e koe, te para ki te whenua, ka tuku ai ki te moana. Ka pirau, ka raru te ao nei. Nāu!)

Attacked: Look at the big civ leader over there with the war declaration! Great job, mate. Really shows off how hard you are. (E tā ...! Tirohia te rangatira rā me te whakapuakitanga pakanga. Kai tawhiti koe ...! E kite ana tō nui pūwhāwhātanga.)

Declares War: You choose death! Your people wail and moan! The pillars of your houses shake, all your lands are shaking! (Ko te mate tāu e kōwhiri nei. Aue ana, whakatautau ana tō iwi! Hīoi ana ngā pou o tō whare, ngāueue ana ō whenua!)

Defeated: I have done my utmost, but your strength was greater. My heart, at least, will beat undefeated. (Kāti, i tino (upaku) pakaru te iwi Māori. Ā, ko te mea nui, ka pūmau tonu o mātou mana.)

Greeting: I am Kupe the navigator, and you approach the place of the Maori. Will you tell me about yourself? (Ko Kupe-pōkai-moana au, ā, kei te whakatata mai koe ki tō te Māori nohonga. Tēnā, ko wai koe?)


Delegation: Here are gifts of pounamu, korowai cloaks and huhu grubs. Go on, I want to see you eat the huhu grubs.

Denounced by Player: Your bad behavior has defined our history, and so I'm actually happy I can declare this to the world.

Denounces Player: The world sees your actions, and they believe what we have known for a long time—that of all leaders, you are the most evil.

Invitation to Capital: I would welcome guests from you to my marae, but in exchange, you should tell me where your capital is.

Invitation to City: I brought your people to my marae, which does them honor. I hope you will likewise give some respect.

Accepts Player's Declaration of Friendship: Yeah you're alright. We Maori are happy to be your friend.

Civilopedia entryEdit

According to legend, Kupe is the mythical navigator who sailed from Hawaiki to a new and undiscovered island, thus establishing the Mа̄ori people in New Zealand. But this is merely a myth, and the story of the Kupe myth and how it came to occupy a prominence in the culture of New Zealand is an interesting study in its own right.

Some ethnographers refer to an “orthodox” Kupe myth, generally attributed to Stephenson Percy Smith (who in turn credits various Mа̄ori sources, and who refers to himself as the “translator”). In this myth, Kupe was a great chief in Hawaiki. One day, bait began disappearing off the fishhooks of his fishermen. Kupe consulted the priests, who blessed the fishing gear, and Kupe and his people set off to sea again in their canoe. Now when the lines were cast into the sea, many octopi could be seen swarming the lines and taking the bait. The biggest of these octopi was a pet which belonged to the rival chief, Muturangi.

Kupe wanted to kill Muturangi, but he and his fishermen set to sea instead, to chase and kill Muturangi's octopus. They pursued it across the ocean all the way to a new island—a green, undiscovered land, which Kupe's wife Kuramarotini named Aotearoa (meaning “the Land of the Long White Cloud,”). Kupe stepped ashore in the North Island of Aotearoa, where his footprints can still be seen to this day. There are numerous other stories within this Kupe myth, as he and his followers explored the coastline, established camps (which would become settlements), and engaged in many legendary feats. Kupe place names abound, and his connection is strongest with the North Island in the area around the Cook Strait and Wairarapa.

But recent scholarship casts question about this orthodox Kupe myth. It does not accord with a significant portion of Mа̄ori traditional storytelling, particularly the whaikorero and whakapapa of many groups. Elements of the orthodox Kupe myth are part of the oral traditions in communities such as the Northland, Wairarapa and even the South Island, but even these diverge or contain additional stories not integrated into the orthodox Kupe myth. The current assessment of the Kupe myth as most commonly known is that it is at best highly syncretized by Smith, and re-incorporated by Mа̄ori communities, where it was subsequently regarded as “authenticating” Smith's work.

Kupe, nonetheless, exerts a presence in New Zealand today. In some sense he stands for the precedence of the Mа̄ori in settling the islands. An Art Deco statue of him stands on the Wellington Waterfront, and children study Kupe stories in the schools. To ask whether Kupe really did all the things to which he is credited, or to ask for the limits of his historicity seems to miss a broader picture—a picture of how oral tradition play into the Mа̄ori's view of their own history, and how this has been interpreted or misinterpreted by the Pakeha who came after them.


  • Kupe appears in the Gathering Storm announcement trailer.
  • Kupe's diplomacy screen shows a lagoon on a tropical island.
  • Kupe's leader ability references his alleged discovery of Aotearoa, while his leader agenda is named after the Māori concept of environmental stewardship.
  • Kupe often sticks out his tongue when the player is on bad terms with him, an action associated with haka dances. Sticking out one's tongue in Mа̄ori culture is a challenge to a fight and declaration meaning "my mouth waters and I lick my lips, for soon I will taste your flesh." Kupe also performs the haka when he denounces or declares war on the player.



Civilization VI- Gathering Storm - First Look- Maori

Civilization VI- Gathering Storm - First Look- Maori

First Look: Maori

Related achievementsEdit

Steam achievement Tu Meke (Civ6)
Tu Meke
Win a game as Kupe
The Maori word for 'Good job.'
Steam achievement One does not simply walk into Ngauruhoe (Civ6)
One does not simply walk into Ngauruhoe
As the Maori, have a Maori Toa discover the Ngauruhoe volcano
A reference to the "One does not simply walk into Mordor" meme that originated from the 2001 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie. Mount Ngauruhoe was used in that film to represent Mount Doom, which is located in Mordor.

External linksEdit

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