Maori Civilization Concept

Oceania is a region of huge untapped potential and the premier civilization of this region is the Maori. The warlike culture of the Maori and remoteness of their homeland in New Zealand kept them largely isolated from the rest of the world until the late 1700s. But once they gained access to European weapons and technology their society was rapidly transformed. This combination provides a very unique set of archaic units in the early game characterized by a largely melee focus with strong fortifications and a rapid progression to more advanced units that developed in the crucible to the Musket Wars and resistance to the British.

Polynesian Region

The Maori should be a part of an expansion that introduced Polynesian maps and a Polynesian minor civilization. I’ve made separate posts discussing those ideas here:

Polynesian Civilization Characteristics

A Polynesian civilization category could be created to include attributes of peoples like the Maori and Hawaiians. It could share a lot of similarities with the Native American factions in terms of units and buildings. Instead of a Community Plaza, a fourth resource called Mana (similar to influence) could be the defining feature of Polynesian nations. For Maori in particular, their tactic of intimidation using the Haka dance could also be a defining feature.

The Maori have been featured in mods such as Wars of Liberty and the approach in that rendition has a lot of excellent research but is a little convoluted in its implementation. Overall, a more standard design with regular Town Centers and a regular unit upgrade path would be more manageable.

Age Up

Aging up via voyages similar to what is done in WoL would also be a fitting feature. Voyages could be undertaken by the explorer unit but a more subtle approach than turning into a boat could be used. These voyages could be to Oceanic locales like Wahipounamu, Tahiti, Fiji, Kiribati, or Australia and further afield places such as Britain and America.


The Maori were originally disunited, but a unifying Maori king movement arose as a reaction to the British. The second Maori king Tawhiao could be their leader.

Home City

The settlement of Parihaka was one of the largest Maori villages and could act as their home city.

Polynesian Buildings

The Polynesian buildings would be largely the same as Native American buildings, but with uniquely Polynesian architecture and upgrades suitable for the Maori and Hawaiians. Instead of a Community Plaza building, Polynesians could have a mechanic revolving around a mana resource similar to the African influence resource.


Polynesian themed upgrades and crops like kumara and taro. Dogs were the only domesticated animals that the Maori had before outside contact. Europeans later introduced animals like sheep and pigs, so these could be the animals trained here. Hawaiians did have pigs before the arrival of Europeans.


Polynesian themed upgrades and crops such as New Zealand flax, olona, and sugarcane.


The upgrades featured in the WoL mod are a good example of a Polynesian themed market. A final woodcutting upgrade could be themed after Whakairo carving.

These are fortified strongholds of the Maori. The introduction of firearms kicked off an arms race between attackers and defenders leading to the creation of nearly indestructible fortresses. These earthworks were reminiscent of the trenches and bunkers of WW1 and could resist artillery bombardment. Due to this, soldiers should be able to garrison in Pa just like the Incan Stronghold. Analogous structures exist throughout Polynesia such as the in Hawaii so a Pa could be a general Polynesian building.


A unique, elaborately carved Maori house. Functions to provide population, but could also have a religious and cultural component like for larger wharenui (meeting houses). This could tie into generating and spending mana. Healers could also be trained here.

War Hut & Siege Workshop

Infantry and siege combat was prevalent in Polynesia but the remote ocean locale meant cavalry was absent. Therefore, Polynesian civilizations would have access to War Huts and Siege Workshops as their standard military buildings. The Maori unit roster for these buildings is detailed below.


The following are my attempt to fit the huge variety of unique Maori weapons into the basic roster a civilization needs. The stats shown are to give a better idea of what the intended role of these units would be. They are by no means balanced or fully refined.

The units would be primarily heavy infantry and siege and function as follows:

Age 2

Tao Spearman - essentially just a Pikeman
Taiaha Kaiwero - scaled down Jaguar Prowl Knight
Mere Runner - essentially just a Coyote Runner
Kotaha - stronger but more expensive Crossbowman that can siege like a Huaraca
Tipao - something between a Hand Mortar and Culverin

Age 3

H_eroa Warrior - scaled up Azap with always melee area damage
Tupara Musketeer - scaled up Carolean with area damage
Huata Mantlet - Mantlets but melee
Adze Ram - Rams that can gather wood

Age 4

Carronade - Falconet with more range

War Hut Units

Tao Spearman

Tao Spearmen would be the standard early anti-cavalry unit of the Maori.

Taiaha Kaiwero

A Taiaha is probably the most iconic Maori weapon. It is prominent in powhiri ceremonies where a challenger must face a warrior with a taiaha. Though it may appear similar to a spear, it is used very differently. The pointed end is held downward and it is used as a fighting staff. For this reason, the role of this unit could be as a heavy infantry counter similar to Jaguar Prowl Knights.


Mere Runner

The Maori used a variety of smaller clubs made of wood, whalebone, and greenstone (jade). However, the ones made from greenstone, known as mere were most prized. Their compact size and use in close-quarters fighting makes warriors with this weapon a great fit for a shock infantry unit.

There is a legend of a mere giving its user invisibility which could be an option for a card (similar ones available for Coyote Runners and Chimu Runners).

There is also a Maori dance called Poi that allegedly was to improve dexterity for handling a mere. This could be present as a card that improves the attack speed of hand shock infantry.

Tupara Musketeer

After gaining access to firearms, the Maori organized themselves into taua war parties and embarked on bloody wars of conquest known as the Musket Wars. One of their favoured weapons was the Tupara double-barreled shotgun so dealing AoE damage and firing quickly would represent this. Due to their late adoption, Taua Musketeers would not be accessible until age 3, but their delayed access would be compensated by stats that outclass most other musketeers in ranged combat.


A H_eroa is a very unique weapon consisting of a large curved whalebone blade that is thrown underhand or used in melee as a long, bladed club. It had a cord attached to one end that was used to retrieve it after it was thrown. Their role in-game could be that of an amped up Azap. They would deal melee area damage at all ranges and have their attack speed scale with distance.


Siege Workshop Units


Traditionally, ranged weapons were almost entirely absent among the Maori. The exception to this was the Kotaha whip sling. Spears were placed into the ground with the end of the whip on the base, and then the thrower cast the whip forward and hurled the spear through the air. In sieges, they were also used to hurl flaming darts into fortifications. In practice, this unit could function like a hybrid of Huaraca (long range siege) and Crossbowmen. In some instances, they were used to throw multiple projectiles, so a card that enables more projectiles or a charged attack could be an option.


Tipao are stone throwing devices consisting of a green branch with one end fixed in the ground and the other with a sling. They were often used in games, but they also featured as a way to launch heated stones at fortifications. The function of this unit would be best suited as something similar to a scaled down Culverin with more utility against ships and buildings.

Adze Ram

For felling very large trees the Maoris used what was essentially a large adze mounted on the end of a ram. This unit could function just like a normal Ram in combat and also have the ability to chop wood at the same rate as a Villager. In some cases, the ramming was further enhanced by using a form of ballista to propel the ram into the tree. This could be depicted as a card that improves both attack and the rate of wood gathering.

This unit is an amalgam of several different weapons and strategies used in sieges.

The first component is the huata spear. These spears were up to 40 feet long and were wielded by multiple men from defensive positions behind a palisade. The ends were sometimes even barbed with stingray spines.

While huatas were used primarily from behind defensive walls, the Maori also constructed sapping shields for approaching defenses from the attacking side. These shields consisted of woven flax and reeds and may have been similar to tukutuku panels. This combined with the Maori wood carving tradition of whakairo and their palisade constructions could come together as a mantlet that would shield the spearmen behind it.

When sieging buildings, a Huata Mantle could use a device called a rou. This was essentially a simple grappling hook that was used to tear down walls.

This unit would function similarly to other Mantlets but with a shorter ranged melee attack. It could also possess the deflection ability (as all Mantlets should have), and the “lance” charge ability.



The artillery used by the Maori were primarily of naval origin. One such piece of naval artillery they used is the Carronade. This unit could also feature as a regional unit available to other potential civilizations that captured and used naval artillery such as the Hawaiians and Haida. It could function like a longer range Falconet with a larger bonus against ships.

General Units


Rangatira are chieftains who would act as the Maori Hero unit. armed with a Paiaka A Haka mechanic could be implemented via the Rangatira being able to stun enemy units or buff adjacent units.


Toas are brave warriors who would act as the Maori militia unit. Fights by throwing spears and loses health over time.


Tohunga were priests and respected experts in a variety of crafts such as healing. They would be the healers of the Maori. A Tokotoko staff could act as a tool for defense and ceremony.

Naval Units


Wakas are Maori canoes. The standard Waka unit would represent the smaller waka tīwai that were used for river travel.

Waka Taua

Waka Taua are large war canoes used to transport Maori war parties. They would occupy the same role as their native equivalent. In naval battles, ramming was the tactic used to destroy enemy vessels. Melee combat for naval units could also be a more general component of all naval battles so that civs like the Maori have a more level playing field.

Waka Hourua

Waka Hourua were the huge migration canoes used in the first voyages to New Zealand. These large ships could occupy the same role as Galleons and be able to train units.

Fishing Boats

Fishing Boats could be based on the Waka Korari that were used by the Moriori.


The following are just a small selection of potential cards for this civilization. Many more are possible.

Mau Rakau - upgrades melee warriors

Kauri Spars - Improves warship health and enables training a Monitor

Trojan Whale - enables Taiaha to use stealth and +10% whale gather rate

Poi - Hand shock infantry attack faster

Hangi - Villagers gather all food faster

Boyd Massacre - Gain food from each enemy ship you sink

Ngāpuhi Support - Ships Tupara Musketeers and upgrades them (Ngāpuhi were some of the first to adopt muskets). Other iwi could have cards that send and improve other units.

Pātaka - Whare slowly generate food and are visually updated to have a Pataka

Storage Pits - Buildings slowly auto heal


I also made one of these. Native Civ Idea: The Maori

AoE3 desperately needs polynesian concent.


Hopefully our suggestions inspire them to add some Polynesian content.

I wanted to approach them somewhat differently than a standard native civilization since they are quite distant. Back when the Plaza was a Fire Pit it would have fit them a lot better by showcasing their traditions like the haka and poi. But now I don’t really want to expand the disappointment that is the Community Plaza. Styling the age ups as voyages is also a way better fit than copying the tribal council age ups.

I also wanted to flesh out more details on their units. They have some really interesting weapons that come together to make a unit roster that you’d get nowhere else. Unfortunately the censorship seemed to target the most unique units :angry:.


I second the motion that they should be a separate, distinct culture rather than be slotted in an umbrella “natives” culture.

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also that maps of oceania be added.

That’s already in the post.

Very cool and well thought out! I suppose the Maori would function in a somewhat similar way to the North American Native civs in that they have a early power spike with powerful age 2 units and then taper off in late running games, but with a mix of the South American Native civ style defensive play in later ages…

As AoE3’s biggest Australia civ proponent I also think an oceania DLC is overdue :stuck_out_tongue:

A water themed DLC with Maori, water maps, a second civ (like Pirates?) and naval AI support is my wish list. Who knows, though. The devs have had a habit of surprising us with their civ/dlc choice.

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That’s not exactly what I was going for. The New Zealand wars occurred fairly late so the Maori had access to advanced weapons by that time and shouldn’t really taper off. The defensive focus should be similar to Inca though.

With the mishmash of units I gave them Maori would kinda be their own thing.

Age 2

Tao Spearman - essentially just a Pikeman
Taiaha Kaiwero - scaled down Jaguar Prowl Knight
Mere Runner - essentially just a Coyote Runner
Kotaha - stronger but more expensive Crossbowman that can siege like a Huaraca
Tipao - something between a Hand Mortar and Culverin

Age 3

H_eroa Warrior - scaled up Azap with always melee area damage
Tupara Musketeer - scaled up Carolean with area damage
Huata Mantlet - Mantlets but melee
Adze Ram - Rams that can gather wood

Age 4

Carronade - Falconet with more range

I don’t think they would really taper off in strength late game, but making use of a unit roster that is almost entirely heavy infantry and siege units could be an interesting challenge.

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I think that this type of civilizations that are powerful in the water, should bonus the damage of the ships when there are units inside.

The thing is, compared to pretty much any other Polynesian culture, I’d say the Maori should be the least focused on water.

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Having read a recent Reddit post on Polynesians, I’d forgotten we had a few well-though Polynesian civ topics on here, including this one.

Maori and Hawaii would make a refreshing change to the existing civs - I’d love to explore the shared traits and quirks potential Polynesian civs could have to differentiate them from other civs.

As you’ve mentioned I think it would be awesome for them to acknowledge ‘Mana’ and its loose definition of power, prestige, talent and influence (to very basically define it - it’s far more complicated).

Whilst I love the idea of an extra resource, I think sometimes these extra resource types get a little convoluted and I’d certainly try to veer away from Native mechnics as I think Polynesians can offer something new.

Maybe using the Norse (AOM) style of generating XP (instead of Favor) during combat - essentially a tiny XP trickle for your units engaged in combat (or each strike they make), all represented by way of a passive ability called Mana on all military units. Tiki carvings (statues shared with all Polynesians) could also provide XP trickles (these could also have an AOM nod, this time to the Egyptians, by having a selection of small to large wooden and stone statues able to be built). Tikis could also have some kind of beneficial effect to nearby religious structures (Temple Platforms).

A suggestion on the is as they were originally fortified villages and were unique to Maori really (Hawaiians did not use/build these) we could repurpose these as a replacement to Town Centers. A fortified Town Center could provide a little more defense than the standard TC and in further ages can actually be upgraded (like a unit) to be more potent in power - pretty much becoming as strong as a European Fort. Specific shipments could even allow it to gain a Food trickle (a nod to the fact that contained and protected the food stores of the settlement).

In lieu of this, a Polynesian shared building could be the 'War Hill/Battle Hill’ or 'Puu Kaua. Basically a hill surrounded stakes and stones out in the open similar to Brestworks. Their alternative to Outposts/Castle, the Puu Kaua provides reasonable line of sight and attacks by way of thrown Javelins/Spears. Unique to the Puu Kaua, this defensive structure could also has a secondary Melee attack when enemies are within 6 Range.

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I was thinking of something that’s more important than export, but maybe not as integral as influence. Hawaiians could work as a native civ with a Consulate, and it could potentially be a resource for that. But buying foreign units with a resource that’s integral to the native religion might be a little strange.

Simplifying it to experience would be too much of an abstraction in my opinion. Then you have to balance the whole civ around their faster shipments from all the extra experience.

Mana represents power and strength, so one way to implement it could be similar to the “evolving units” of WoL’s Polynesian design. Any unit could be upgraded by spending Mana to make it an enhanced version with higher attack/gather rate and health regeneration (because of the association with healing). These units could be something like the “gilded” units in AoE4’s OOTD. This enhanced state could also be achieved as a promotion by killing an enemy.

Hawaiian did build them but the lovely censor system deleted my link to it. They were very much fortifications especially how they developed later on, and I don’t think a TC replacement is a very good fit. I found the WoL implementation as a TC replacement to be kinda clunky and annoying.

I was considering similar fighting platforms but I felt like they were just a component of War Huts and Pa and those buildings covered their defensive needs well enough. Maybe a tech that gives them a melee attack could better represent this.

Ah yes, I do like the idea of enhancing existing units. The prestige of Mana being able to give small improvements to various stats seems like a nice fit.

The problem with having mana be a resource obtained from combat is something that, well, was duly noted when I brought it up the first time… it’s just experience all over again.

The only alternative I can think of is Mana being a resource you obtain from declaring “taboos” over certain sections of the map where you construct something that converts the nearby resources into mana… as long as you keep them untouched from both you and your enemies.

To some extent yes, but having it as a separate resource with a different use does alleviate the problem of them sending cards too fast. I don’t think anyone’s necessarily suggesting that it should be obtained from combat. SirBarnzy1’s suggestion was for a mana ability that generates experience from combat instead of a separate resource.

Conceptually this makes sense, but in practice I feel like it would just end up being like a more annoying version of Shrines. Blocking off resources for yourself and allies would likely not be very fun.

A Tiki would be the obvious thing to build for a mana generating structure. Maybe it could be placed down by heroes and healers like a sort of economic Inspiring Flag. Instead of a taboo area, it could possibly be linked to combat after all and grant mana instead of experience when fighting and training within its aura.

Ultimately it’s kind of hard to separate it out from experience since gaining mana comes from fertility, violence, and authority which are already represented by experience.

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Thing is, not all Polynesian civilizations lacked cavalry. The Hawaiians had a long tradition of natives acting as cowboys. They also had at least two military units who were designated as cavalry (hence why I would advocate for Hawaiians to train the Hussar out of Stables or a Corral as the uniforms line up). No clue if any others did. So everybody but Hawaiians would need a Noble Hut-like structure Stable substitute…or all Polynesians including Hawaiians would train their shock infantry or cavalry out of a special building.

Some of these other fortifications weren’t strictly strongpoints. Some served as temple complexes or villages. Others were palaces. At least one European-style fort was built on Oahu. It could be named something other than the Pa. Fort is out. Citadel is out. Castle is out. Stronghold is out. Hmm…call it a redoubt? Yeah, maybe make the Redoubt a powerful Frontier Fortification combined with the Church/Meeting House/Cathedral/Basilica.

“largely isolated from the rest of the world until the late 1700s.”

I will sound a bit harsh, but you just state in your introduction the main reason this civ should NOT be added into the game (at least as a playable civ).

  • minor interaction with the world
  • completely out of the time frame (you even suggest a second half of the 19th century leader?? wtf)

The 16th-18th century period is full of interesting and unrepresented civ that could fit so we’ll in the game. But the Maori is not part of that group. Let’s keep that for another game.

What other game? Age of Empires 4?

Oh wait, that’s set in the Age of Empires 2 time period again.

Let’s be honest: this is the only game where they could realistically fit, and all games in the series ended up extending their time period anyway (AoE2 has both Romans coexisting with Exploration Era Spanish and Portuguese), why should AoE3 not do it?

Yeah, Romans are an unpopular addition, but AoE2 has Goths since day 1 and they run into the same problem if you ignore Crimean Goths.


Yes, Hawaiians should definitely have cavalry at least in later ages. I should have been more specific in referring to Maori with that comment. That being said, I don’t think a “Nobles Hut” would be necessary for any Polynesian civs. The civs with Nobles Huts / Kallankas don’t have any other production buildings other than War Huts, but the most viable Polynesian civs (Maori and Hawaiians) would have other production buildings. Maori would have a diverse array of Siege Workshop units, and Hawaiians could have Siege Workshops and Stables.

For Hawaiian cavalry, I’d probably limit them to a shock infantry unit for heavy cavalry since they wouldn’t have had horses until later in the time period. But I’d give them Carbine Cavalry for the light cavalry role and maybe some Paniolo cowboys.

There’s no need to conflate all monumental stone structures with fortifications. They can have both big stone temples and fortifications. The Hawaiian word for fort is “pa kaua”, and “pa” just means enclosed refuge so that’s accurate enough in my books. The link below goes into it more: