Te Ao Māori,
Storytelling & Advertising

Storytelling holds a significant place in Māori culture, having been an integral aspect for generations and it continues to play an important role in Aotearoa today. For many centuries before the arrival of non-Māori, Māori traditions were passed down through oral storytelling.

Mātauranga Māori (Knowledge), Whakapapa (history), and cultural practices were conveyed through legends, songs and oratory. These stories were not a means of entertainment, but a way of preserving and sharing important cultural knowledge.
Māori storytelling was and still is a powerful tool for transmitting values and beliefs, strengthening the bonds between people and their culture, and helping to shape the Māori identity. In Māori culture, storytelling is seen as a way of preserving and understanding the world, connecting with nature, and connecting with others.

Māori storytelling emphasises the importance of authenticity, connection, and emotional resonance. Māori storytellers would often share personal experiences, feelings and genealogy, weaving them into their stories to create emotional connections with their listeners. This approach has helped to preserve culture and create a sense of community and belonging within Māori culture.
The Māori tradition of storytelling can provide valuable insights and inspiration for storytelling in advertising. Advertising campaigns that are grounded in real stories and experiences, that connect with audiences on a personal level, and that evoke emotional responses are more likely to resonate with viewers and be remembered. The use of authentic voices and personal experiences can also help build trust and credibility with audiences.

Māori storytelling often incorporates elements of nature, spirituality, and community, emphasising the interconnectedness of all things. This holistic approach to storytelling can help create advertising work that is not only impactful and effective but also respectful of the natural world and the people who inhabit it. Incorporating these elements can help create a sense of connection and community between the audience and the brand, making them more likely to engage with and remember the work.
The history of storytelling in Māori culture highlights the importance of authenticity, connection, emotional resonance, and a holistic approach to storytelling. These values can be applied to advertising to create work that are grounded in real stories and experiences, connect with audiences on a personal level, and evoke emotional responses, while also being respectful of the natural world and the people who inhabit it. Meaningful engagement with Māori communities and cultural experts can greatly influence the effectiveness of great work that incorporate Māori storytelling techniques. By involving Māori perspectives and voices from start to finish in the development and execution of campaigns, advertisers can ensure that their messaging is culturally appropriate and authentic, and resonates with Māori audiences. This level of engagement builds trust and fosters long-term relationships between brands and Māori communities, ultimately leading to greater outcomes. Overall, meaningful engagement with communities and Te Ao Māori is a critical aspect of creating work that is not only effective, but also respectful and inclusive.The Māori tradition of storytelling offers valuable lessons for the advertising industry and can help brands create campaigns that are memorable, impactful, respectful and inclusive.

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