Tourists arriving in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup seeking to enjoy Maori culture and tourism won’t be disappointed.
Maori tourism operators have been collaborating with key tourism agencies and Discover Maori – a guide for visitors seeking all things Maori, is now available.
Discover Maori features 115 Maori tourism and retail outlets nationwide and will be available through the i-SITE network around the country.
Discover Maori caters to the growing demand from international tourists seeking Maori tourism experiences ranging from eco-tours and adventure activities, to cafes, art galleries and more.
Te Puni Kokiri has worked closely with Poutama Trust, the New Zealand Maori Tourism Society and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and i-SITE New Zealand to develop the brochure and to select operators. Te Puni Kokiri and ATEED have also provided training to tourism providers such as Air New Zealand and i-SITE staff, on the diversity of and national spread of Maori tourism offerings.
“Tourists coming to New Zealand are increasingly seeking tours and events linked to Maori people and culture. It was with this in mind that Discover Maori was created to provide visitors with information on where they can find uniquely Maori accommodation and tours”, said Pania Tyson-Nathan, chief executive of New Zealand Maori Tourism.
“The guide features Maori legends of creation and offers a unique glimpse into Maori mythology and culture, offering tourists a richer touring experience by knowing Maori legends behind geographical features around New Zealand”, she added.
Vonese Walker from Poutama Trust said: “We have been supporting Maori tourism businesses for about ten years now. Recently we’ve revamped our ‘Indigenous New Zealand’ website to align with the Discover Maori guide, and we’ve also developed an online booking system”. An electronic version of the Discover Maori guide can be downloaded from the website www.inz.maori.nz
“These tourism projects have been motivated by the Cup and are creating positive new relationships between the Maori tourism sector and our major tourism agencies. However, our goal is that this work leads to long-term collaborations that will deliver benefit to Maori tourism operators whilst supporting New Zealand’s overall tourism industry”, said Leith Comer, chief executive of Te Puni Kokiri.
Maori have a natural ability to manaaki visitors and a desire to share experiences unique to New Zealand. Maori culture and the Maori dimension of New Zealand society is of great interest to many of our overseas visitors.
Marae have also been getting into gear with two – Te Mahurehure and Te Hana Marae in Auckland – achieving Qualmark certification that attests to the standards that tourists will have during their stay at these marae. Marae accommodation will offer tourist communal living facilities not unlike that of a kibbutz.
Te Puni Kokiri has also worked with Rugby New Zealand 2011 and Tourism New Zealand to establish a dedicated ‘Maori Cultural Accommodation’ tab on the RWC 2011 web portal. The ‘Maori’ accommodation tab features Maori operators that offer Maori cultural concepts or practices as a part of their accommodation, ranging from the subtle to the significant. It will also feature the marae who have received the Qualmark Marae Stay Experience grading.