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"Muturangi, do something about your octopus, or I'll do it for you."
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Kupe was a semi-legendary Māori explorer, navigator and rangatira who, according to some sources of Māori oral history and mythology, sailed from the legendary Māori homeland of Hawaiki and discovered and first settled the North Island of Aotearoa, nowadays New Zealand. He leads the Māori in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm.

As the only civilization that starts with access to ocean navigation, the Māori 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 Science Science and Culture Culture per turn prior to founding his first city. He receives a free Builder and +1 Citizen Population when he founds his first city, and his Palace provides +3 Housing Housing and +1 Amenity Amenity.

Detailed Approach[]

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 can be extremely powerful on Terra maps, since he can settle the player-less continent at the beginning of the game and settle to his heart's content.


Kupe is voiced by TeArahi Napi Maipi. He speaks Māori, and the English subtitles for his lines use New Zealand slang (e.g., "Choice," "Yeah nah," "Nah yeah").


Codename Quote (English translation) Quote (Māori) Notes
Agenda-based Approval Your land stays green and your waters are clean and clear. Choice. (lit. "The/Your land stays lush and green. (It/You) shall flourish! (And) the/your waters remain lovely and fresh. Wonderful!") Ka matomato tonu te whenua. Ka ora! Ka waitī tonu ngā wai. Kei whea mai! "Choice" means "cool" or "excellent" in New Zealand slang.[1]
Agenda-based Disapproval You pile filth on the land and dump it in the sea! You waste and spoil the world! (lit. "You pile waste on the land, and dump it in the sea. This world is decaying and in danger. Because of you!") 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. (lit. "Bro! Look at the chief over there with the war declaration. You're amazing, mate! It shows how 'big but hollow' you are.") E tā! Tirohia te rangatira rā me te whakapuakitanga pakanga. Kai tawhiti koe, e hoa! 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! (lit. "It is death you have chosen. Your people wail and moan! The pillars of your house are shaking, and your lands are quaking!") 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. (lit. "Well, the Māori people have been completely and utterly broken. But the important thing is that our mana shall still endure.") Kāti, i tino ū paku pakaru te iwi Māori. Ā, ko te mea nui, ka pūmau tonu ō mātou mana.
Greeting I am Kupe the navigator, and you approach the place of the Maori. Will you tell me about yourself? (lit. "I am Kupe, explorer of the sea, and you are approaching the dwelling place of the Māori. So, who are you?") Ko Kupe-pōkai-moana au, ā, kei te whakatata mai koe ki tō te Māori nohonga. Tēnā, ko wai koe?
Quote from Civilopedia Muturangi, do something about your octopus, or I'll do it for you. (lit. "Muturangi! Now, sort out your octopus. If not ... well then, I'll do it instead.") Muturangi! Tēnā, whakaritea tāu wheke. Ki te kore, ā, māku kē. This quote refers to the Māori legend of Kupe and the Giant Wheke, in which Kupe battles and kills a monstrous octopus ("wheke") belonging to a tohunga (master) called Muturangi.


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

Accepts Delegation from Player: You honor us with these fine gifts, the sign of your mana.

Rejects Delegation from Player: No. Do not send us your gifts. We want no obligation to you.

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

Rejects Player's Declaration of Friendship: Yeah nah, the Maori just aren't ready for public friendship yet.

Requests Declaration of Friendship: There are worse people in the world than you, surely. Mind if I tell the others you're not a complete jerk?

Trade Deal Accepted: Yeah, that'll work.

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.

Too Many Troops Near His Border: Maybe you want to move all those armies near Maori land? Before something terrible happens? Just a thought.

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 Invitation from Player: Yes. But only because I'm such a generous guy.

Civilopedia entry[]

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 Kupe's Sail, a geological formation on the southern end of Te-Ika-a-Maui/the North Island of New Zealand.
  • 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 on bad terms with the player, an action associated with haka dances. Sticking out one's tongue in Māori culture is an act of intimidation, 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

First Look: Maori

Related achievements[]

Tu Meke
Tu Meke
Win a game as Kupe
The Maori word for 'Good job.'
One does not simply walk into Ngauruhoe
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 film. Mount Ngauruhoe was used in that film to represent Mount Doom, which is located in Mordor.


External links[]

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1 Requires DLC

R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.