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The Māori people represent a civilization in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. They are led by Kupe, under whom their default colors are red and cyan.

The Māori's civilization ability is Mana, which allows them to begin the game with the Sailing and Shipbuilding technologies and the ability to enter Ocean tiles, and provides their embarked units with +5 Strength Combat Strength and +2 Movement Movement. Unimproved Woods and Rainforests in their territory provide extra Production Production (+1 initially, with additional bonuses after discovering Mercantilism and Conservation), and Fishing Boats provide +1 Food Food and trigger a Culture Bomb; however, they cannot harvest resources or earn Great Writer Great Writers. Their unique unit is the Toa (which replaces the Swordsman), and their unique building is the Marae (which replaces the Amphitheater).


Starting bias: None

In the more recent iterations of Civilization, there is always one civilization whose gameplay is so unique that it deserves a category of its own. If Venice takes the cake in Civilization V, the spotlight is definitely on the Māori this time around. Playing as the Māori under Kupe, you will embark on an adventure finding the promised land for your people, and from there you will build up an empire with an inexorable culture.

Kupe's Voyage[]

Initially, your Settler and Warrior will start their journey in the middle of the Ocean with no land tiles in sight. From here, you have two main choices: either separate the two units so you can find land earlier, or keep them together to escort one another. When contemplating these two options, the advantages of the latter seem to outweigh the disadvantages, as you need your Warrior to protect your Settler against Barbarians; otherwise, it will quickly be a game over. Furthermore, it doesn't make any difference if your Warrior is the first unit to see land since it is the Settler's job to create the first city anyway, so remember: keep them together.

Even when at sea, you already start generating 2 Culture Culture and 2 Science Science per turn, meaning you will have a slight disadvantage in Science Science and an advantage in Culture Culture compared to a normal civilization who settles their first city right away. The main effect of this is that you will unlock Code of Laws faster than most other civilizations (except for Trajan's Rome), allowing earlier access to the starting policy cards. Also, it is advisable not to choose which starting technology to research until you find the land on which you want to settle your Capital Capital, as the Science Science will accumulate until you choose instead of being wasted. By doing this, you can customize your choice to fit your Capital Capital's surroundings. The ideal place for your Capital Capital should have at least two ocean resources with plenty of passable terrain features (Woods, Rainforests, Marshes, Reefs, passable natural wonders, Volcanic Soil, Geothermal Fissures, Floodplains, and/or Oases).

Once you settle the first city, you will receive a free Builder, a free Citizen Population, and your Palace will provide +3 Housing Housing and +1 Amenity Amenity to make up for the time lost on the oceans. The starting Builder should start building Fishing Boats on the ocean resources, which will trigger a Culture Bomb (from the Mana ability). The reason you should have at least two available resources is to trigger the Eureka Eureka for Celestial Navigation, the technology that unlocks the Harbor, a crucial piece of infrastructure. The fact that you start with 2 Citizen Population means you can immediately start working on a new Settler, but this is not advised. It is better to train another scouting unit, since you can cross deep water from the beginning. (This extra unit should be a Warrior on water-dominated maps or a Scout on maps with more land.)

This ability also has one implication: everyone on the map (including you) will have less space for expansion. This is how map generation of the game works: when the game is set up, the map will be divided into areas equal to the number of civilizations in the game. However, when the Māori are in the game, since you do not start on land, map generation will not take this into account, meaning you will have to settle close to at least another civilization. It also means empires away from you will have relatively more breathing room, including resource access and expansion space. There are two ways you can address this issue, depending on the situation:

  • You can quickly beeline for Construction to unlock the Toa, your very powerful unique unit. An army of Toa can make quick work of neighboring civilizations and city-states. This strategy is advised when there are a lot of naval powerhouse civilizations present in the game (early game naval empires like Indonesia, Norway, and Phoenicia are especially dangerous, and to a lesser extent, mid- and late game naval civilizations like the Netherlands, England, and Brazil), as you will need your empire consolidated to easily defend against invasions, instead of spreading it over multiple landmasses which are distant from one another. Also, you will have enough space for yourself that you do not need to worry too much about other empires, as they will still have to compete with each other for territory while you can have an entire corner of the map to yourself.
  • Spread your cities out multiple landmasses across the globe. By doing this, you ensure there is no civilization that can get extra breathing room, a good measure to keep everyone in check. This is great when there is no major naval powers, as their Settlers and military units can only embark with Shipbuilding and cross deep oceans with Cartography, when you can do all of that from the beginning of the game. By the time your opponents unlock these key technologies, your cities will have had enough time to develop and they can put together an army on their own in case of war. This is very dangerous, however, if the naval civilizations mentioned above are in the game, because you are a maritime empire that is good at exploring, but not one specializing in naval warfare. Your unique unit, though strong, is a land unit, and you are helpless against naval invasions if your preparation is poor. By spreading your colonies across the globe, military mobilization is much more difficult, and all of your newly settled cities that are far from your core territory can go in one fell swoop.

As you can imagine, exploration is the key to a lot of important decisions for the Māori. Exploit the fact that you can wrest complete control of the seas in the first few eras and decide for yourself which option is best for your empire.


This really is a compound ability, since it comprises so many small bonuses, but all of them serve almost the same two purposes: to enhance exploration and colonization ability and to make up for lost time due to Kupe's leader ability. This section will be split appropriately into each facet of Mana.

Start the game with Sailing and Shipbuilding unlocked[]

Obviously, the ability to embark is granted to all units from the start is one crucial and the most outstanding effect, but let's talk about some less inherent ramifications of this. First, you are able to build Fishing Boats from the start (if you manage to find Turtles Turtles on Reef, these tiles are like gold mines in terms of early yields, considering you receive Production Production, Gold Gold, 1 precious Science Science and Food Food). You also can build Galleys to defend yourself against aggressive naval civilizations like Phoenicia or Norway, but don't bother with this if they are not in the game. You do not have to build 2 Galleys to unlock the Eureka Eureka for Shipbuilding as you already have the entire technology unlocked, and since your embarked units receive extra Movement Movement, they are better at exploring than Galleys. However, this ability does come with a minor downside: Barbarian Outposts can now spawn Quadriremes at the beginning of the game. In this case, train two Galleys to protect your shore (one Galley is not enough to deal with one Quadrireme).

The last thing about this aspect is you will have early access to build the Colossus, which is a decent Wonder on a water map. It requires a Harbor, but thanks to your prowess in exploration, you should have no difficulty earning Eureka Eurekas for Astrology and Celestial Navigation.

Conservation of Woods, Rainforests and Bonus Resources[]

Woods and Rainforests in Māori territory earns an extra Production Production, as long as you leave them undeveloped. Following the series of buffs to Lumber Mills, there are quite a few notes to consider, about whether or not you should build these improvements on all of your Woods and Rainforests. Since each Lumber Mill now provides 2 Production Production from the get-go, it may be worth building a few Lumber Mills in cities with low Production Production, just to get them to produce things you need. However, when Mercantilism is unlocked, an undeveloped Woods or Rainforest tile would break even with a tile with a Lumber Mill, meaning all of your Builders' charges may quickly be wasted after just 2 eras. Not to mention, once Conservation is unlocked, a tile with a Lumber Mill has worse yields than an undeveloped one, so again, you would have to dedicate Builders to remove these improvements in order to reap the benefits. All in all, the advice is don't go overboard with building Lumber Mills as the Māori, maybe put down one to trigger the Eureka Eureka for Mass Production, and adjust it a bit higher if the city is really low on Production Production, but to be fair, with the potential number of Trade Route Trade Routes the Māori will have from building Harbors en masse, it is better to just send domestic Trade Route Trade Routes.

One downside of the Māori is that you cannot harvest bonus resources (Stone Stone, Copper Copper, Bananas Bananas, Rice Rice, Wheat Wheat, Deer Deer, Cattle Cattle, Crabs Crabs, Fish Fish, Sheep Sheep, and Maize Maize), meaning these resources will effectively block the placement of wonders and districts like luxury resources, so keep this in mind during city planning. Don't confuse this with clearing features, however, as you can still clear Marshes, Woods, and Rainforests like normal. If you've enabled the Heroes & Legends game mode, you can bypass this restriction by recruiting Anansi, who can harvest both luxury and bonus resources.

Better Fishing Boats[]

Another reason to look for sea resources when settling as the Māori is that their Fishing Boats are all around improved, yielding extra Food Food and triggering a Culture Bomb to surrounding tiles. If that resource also happens to spawn on Reefs, that definitely should be a prime spot to settle. Considering combining this with God of the Sea, Auckland, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and you will have a strong and bustling coastal empire. On top of that, your coastal yields can be further augmented by Marae (for Reef tiles), Huey Teocalli (for Lake tiles), Aquariums, Seaports, and Seasteads. (Just to give you a glimpse of how ridiculous the Māori yields can get, a Reef tile can get to a maximum of 7 Production Production, 6 Food Food, 5 Gold Gold, 2 Science Science, 1 Faith Faith and 1 Culture Culture, and that doesn't even take into account having the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in that city, possible resources and Fishing Boats on that Reef tile, or Reyna with Forestry Management assigned to it!)

Improved Embarkation[]

This is an often overlooked aspect of the Mana ability. It amplifies your ability to explore safely to spot out settling locations, also help your Settlers travel a bit faster to reach their destinations. During exploration, you can also meet new City-states for that valuable free Envoy Envoys, discover Natural Wonders or quickly circumnavigate the globe, all of which will lead to an easy Golden Classical Era. From here, you can pick Exodus of the Evangelists if you want to go for a Religious Victory, or Monumentality to purchase Settlers and Builders if you do not feel like an early Religious Victory is feasible (maybe if you happen to have a lot of Religious civilizations in the game). Later, the Marae will supply Faith Faith to make both of these directions work.

Prohibition from earning Great Writers[]

Thanks to the September 2019 Update, all of the Great Writer points will now be converted to Faith Faith, so all of your Theater Squares will generate a bit of Faith Faith even without any building in it. The fact that you cannot earn Great Writers also mean you can freely ban Great Writers whenever you see the Patronage Resolution coming up in the World Congress to hamper the progress of other cultural civilizations without hurting yourself.


As the Māori, be sure to build a Theater Square in every city with passable features: Woods, Rainforests, Marshes, Oases, Reefs, Geothermal Fissures, Floodplains, Volcanic Soil, and passable natural wonders. Keep this in mind when settling your first city because you can get excellent yields this way early in the game.

The Māori are all but guaranteed to settle near the Coast, providing an opportunity to take advantage of the bonus from Reef tiles. Their Production Production bonus from unimproved Woods and Rainforest tiles stacks with the Marae's bonuses, and if you settle near Floodplains and Volcanoes, floods and Volcanic Soil (from volcanic eruptions) will provide even richer yields from the surrounding terrain. Geothermal Fissures are especially profitable, as they will yield Science Science, Culture Culture, and Faith Faith as well as Gold Gold, Production Production, and clean Power Power after you research Synthetic Materials and improve them with Geothermal Plants.

After unlocking Flight, you will earn Tourism Tourism for all of the aforementioned features (and Ice as well[1]). Most importantly, after unlocking Conservation, your Builders have the ability to plant Woods, so make sure you cover all the virgin lands with this to further amplify your late game Tourism Tourism potential.


The Toa is almost identical to the Indians' Varu in terms of statistics: it has the same Movement Movement and Production Production and Gold Gold costs, requires no resources to train and has an ability to lower adjacent enemies' strength. It has slightly lower Strength Combat Strength and is unlocked slightly later than the Varu, but comes with an edge in the form of the Pā. This tile improvement works identically to an early Fort, except for the extra ability to heal the unit ending its turn on this tile. In combination with the innate Haka War Dance ability, this makes the Toa almost impossible to kill when it is on defense, making invasion against the Māori during this time period a tall order. Although not as effective on offense, the Toa is still a force to be reckoned with, as its only downside is shared by every other melee unit (and of course, their unofficial "twin," the Varu): slow Movement Movement. If you plan a conquest with the Toa, remember one Toa unit can only build the Pā once, so the location of placement is vital to maximize the improvement's defensive capability on top of the Toa's combat prowess.

Just like other units with Build charges (Civ6) build charges, Toa can repair and remove improvements (for free), clear nuclear contamination or features (which costs 1 Build charges (Civ6) build charge). Just like the Roman Legion, a common strategy with the Toa is to use one Toa to chop Woods to instantly train another Toa, which can be kept going until you deplete the source of Woods around you. Just keep in mind that clearing features will prevent the Toa from building a Pā, and the Māori gain huge bonuses from keeping Woods and Rainforests around.

Similar to the Varu, the Toa's Strength Combat Strength penalty to nearby units applies to both land and naval units, even when the Toa is embarking. However, it will not reduce the Strength Combat Strength of a nearby embarked unit below the embarkation Strength Combat Strength threshold. However, unlike India, the Māori has strong incentives to try to wrest control of the oceans to provide safety to their units when exploring, but they have no edge in naval warfare whatsoever. You can create an advantage for yourself by keeping a few Toa units around without upgrading them, then put them in formation with your naval units. The Strength Combat Strength penalty aura will then be carried by these ships, making the Toa relevant to the very end of the game.

With the introduction of the Man-At-Arms in the April 2021 Update, the domination prowess of the Toa is significantly reduced. Since the Man-At-Arms is unlocked almost very closely after Iron Working, and is very easy to beeline, the Swordsman and its replacements seem a little bit pointless. The Toa gets hit the hardest among the 5 unique Swordsmen, since it is the only unique unit in the game that is unlocked later than the standard unit, making the already narrow window of opportunity even narrower. It is also the most expensive unique Swordsman, which clearly makes the matter even worse. With the ability to construct Pā in neutral and friendly territory, the Toa's defensive capability stays the same, but the ability to have a timing rush with this unit is now almost non-existent, especially on high difficulty levels.


The Pā is exactly the same as the Fort, except for the healing for Māori units using it.

Using the Pā effectively is the same as using Forts effectively. Place them along the fringes of your civilization, especially along borders with other civs. Preferably, you do not want to place a Pā on an open and isolated tile, since the unit occupying it can be swarmed by enemies. It is a good idea to place this improvement on a strategic spot against a Mountain range where you cannot be ambushed from all sides, or on the escape route between multiple enemy cities, to cut off their retreat and quickly heal your units while moving from one city to another.

Remember, similar to a Fort, if the enemy manages to occupy your Pā, they will receive the fortification bonus. However, the Pā will not provide extra healing to the enemy.

The Pā can only be built on feature-less Hills terrains, and since the Toa cannot clear features, remember to escort a Builder with you just in case you need to build this improvement on a strategic hill that happens to be covered with a terrain feature.

The healing aspect functions similarly to the Mamluk's healing ability: the healed amount depends on the location of the Pā and always applies as long as a unit ends their turns on a Pā. A unit will heal 10 HP if the Pā is in neutral territory and 15 HP if it is inside friendly territory.

Victory Types[]

The Māori's victory paths skew towards the religious and cultural routes, with the cultural route being slightly more favorable. In terms of religion, the Māori have decent Faith Faith generation, but lack incentives and bonuses in defending and spreading their religion, so this path depends on what civilizations you have in the game. Regarding culture, despite not being able to earn Great Writers, the Marae can generate a lot of Tourism Tourism once Flight is unlocked, provided that your cities have a lot of passable features or you actively plant Woods on featureless hexes; overall, you are more in charge of your fate when embarking on this route. Diplomatic and domination aren't bad ideas either, since the Māori's prowess in exploration will give them a foothold in city-state diplomacy and the Toa is a terrifying Classical unique unit.

Counter Strategy[]

Don't be alarmed by the Māori's civilization ability - it sounds like a lot considering its many components, but it is there purely to make up for their late start from the oceans. They are exceptionally vulnerable during the first few turns of settlement, so prepare yourself a few Warriors and immediately take them out if they settle next to you, or else you will have a lot less room to grow while far away empires have considerably more space (due to the map generation mechanic when the Māori are in the game). The Māori's military prowess peaks around the Classical and Medieval Era, so try not to pick on them during this time unless you are playing as one of the naval powerhouses, as the Māori are not any better at naval warfare than a regular civilization.

Also, unless the Māori are able to conquer their next door neighbors to expand, they will be forced to stretch their empire on multiple landmasses. Just look for a weak spot in their empire and strike, as they will not be able to mobilize their military as quickly as others.

To deal with their powerful Toa, build ranged units en masse - most preferably, Crossbowmen. It will be a little bit trickier when dealing with the Māori on the defense, since they can use their Toa to build the Pā inside their territory at chokepoints. In that situation, try to eliminate the unit occupying this tile as quickly as possible, using either ranged units or heavy cavalry with Charge. Again, it all comes down to preparation before going to war, as Machinery and Stirrups are the two important technologies to get before coming into conflict with the Māori.

Civilopedia entry[]

Sometime during the 13th Century, people in canoes set off from somewhere in the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific and headed south and west, until they arrived at the islands we call New Zealand, and which they called Aotearoa—"the land of the long white cloud". The group would have used the sophisticated, traditional Polynesian navigational techniques to find this land, inferring its existence from cues and clues reflected in the natural world. They would have come ashore to a place where human beings had never settled, which had torn away from the mainland 100 million years previously, which had a unique and precious biome formed by ages of geological separation. It was a land of innumerable species of birds, including immense and flightless giants, terrifyingly large raptors, and shy bush dwellers. There were few land mammals and a few ancient genera of reptiles. The seas around the island teemed with life.

The oldest known Maori sites are near Te Pokohiwi (Wairau Bar) on the South Island, where the Wairau River dumps into the strait between New Zealand's two main islands. The Maori's own account of their arrival says they are descended from the people of Hawaiki, and that the hero Maui dragged the islands of New Zealand up from the depths with his fishhook. They say the first settlements were by Kupe and Toitehuatahi. Indeed, one of the most important aspects of Maori culture is the recitation of lineage, whakapapa, by which the speaker situates themselves in their history, indeed back to the mythological past. Whakapapa has always been an important social system of the Maori, richly complex and laden with important cultural meaning.

For the next three hundred years or so, the Polynesian heritage of the Maori was shaped by the land they settled. Most groups, or hapu, were led by chieftains, who were imbued with mana—prestige and power—and who could repay friends with kindness and enemies with proportioned revenge. The Maori created beautiful objects from pounamu greenstone and the feathers of the islands' birds. Each hapu kept its own oral heritage alive, pointing back to the canoe-colonists from which they arrived at the island. The Maori perfected the haka, which is an energetic chant with strong, ritualized gestures and facial expressions, used to represent strength, courage, prowess, and respect. The distinctive Maori facial markings are called tā moko, and are unique to the person. For men, these cover the full face, and for women these are done on the lips and chin.

The first Europeans sighted New Zealand in 1642, but it wasn't until the 18th Century that regular contact between Europeans and the Maori began. The Maori referred to the Europeans as Pakeha, which is a term today which means “Non-Maori” more generally. The introduction of firearms and European diseases had a profound and negative effect on the Maori. Europeans began constructing permanent settlements, and in 1840 the British government drafted the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed by many Maori chiefs.

The Treaty of Waitangi follows in the long tradition of unequal treaties between indigenous people and colonial governments, particularly with recognition of claims to the land. The western notion of “owning land” was not a Maori concept, and the Maori understanding of the agreement was substantially different than that of the British. The British coerced sale of Maori land through legally questionable means, and certainly beyond the scope of what the Maori had understood to be within their rights, in exchange for poor recompense.

In response, the Maori Kingitanga movement organized as a way for the Maori to unify behind a single political figure, rather than allow themselves to be further subdivided by pitting different hapu against each other. The Kingitanga movement in turn prompted a government crackdown and confiscation of Maori lands, and the New Zealand Wars ensued between the Maori and the Pakeha. The Maori by now were being forced increasingly off the best land in New Zealand, and into poorer and more difficult terrain, especially on the North Island. The government continued to confiscate land, not only to punish those who had resisted, but sometimes from allied Maori groups as well. In addition to direct confiscation, there were legalistic means used to seize land from the Maori. These practices continued for the better part of a century.

In addition, the island was suffering from profound ecological changes. The Maori arrival had introduced the rat and dog into the fragile ecosystem of New Zealand. Within a century or so of Maori arrival, the immense moa birds had gone extinct, and with them the huge eagles that had preyed on them. Other species' introduction (possums, stoats, and pigs, for example) had damaged the native plant and animal habitats, resulting in a loss of over 40% of the islands' native bird species. Farmers extensively cleared the natural forests to make room for agricultural and pastoral lands.

Beginning in 20th Century there has been an increasing recognition of the historical injustices committed against the Maori, and a resurgence among the Maori in preserving and celebrating their culture. Sir Apriana Ngata, Minister of Maori Affairs, pushed for improved legal recognition for the Maori, and promoted Maori traditional music and poetry, even as he promoted Maori service during the World Wars. The Maori served in proportionally high numbers in the British armed forces during the World Wars, fighting in such difficult theaters as Gallipoli, North Africa, and Italy, and gaining respect both from their allies and their enemies.

Maori protest movements in the latter half of the 20th Century further raised the issues of the historical wrongs done to them. In response, New Zealand has undertake many measures to preserve and promote Maori language and heritage, and there is a growing cultural awareness of the uniqueness of Maori culture. Although the Maori continue to lag behind Pakeha in economic, health, and educational measures, there is a distinct national commitment to gaining equality.

Finally, the Maori attitudes towards the earth and nature are gaining traction. New Zealand as a whole has embraced a robust commitment to reducing ecological damage, preserving its native ecosystems and reducing invasive species, and most recently outlawed further offshore oil exploration in its waters. The Maori ways of speaking to collective responsibility for the planet are finding resonance in Aotearoa and beyond.



Males Females Modern males Modern females
Anaru Anahera Ari Aria
Hemi Ataahua Aata Anika
Hoani Tui Etera Kaia
Tane Huia Nikau Ria
Te Koha Kora Mikaere Miriama
Tamiti Kaihautu Maaka Terina
Ihaia Manaia Rawiri Aroha
Wiremu Iwa Kauri Waimarie
Kahurangi Ikaroa Kamaka Awhina
Ruru Wikitoria Tangaroa Nia




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.


See also[]

External links[]

Civilization VI Civilizations [edit]
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