Tour Aotearoa with a Māori guide
I’m relatively new to the tourism industry and to being a tour guide. I defer to my mentors and fellow guides who have much more experience than me. I know that I have been privileged to learn from the best - from some absolute legends in this industry - who have been so generous and patient with me.
What I bring to this role as a Māori Tour guide is my family history, genealogy, language, culture and a passion for this land that extends back over many generations.
HONONGA - CONNECTION
The history of my people on this land dates back a thousand years to when my ancestor Kupe brought a canoe here from Hawaiki, our ancient homeland. Our stories tell us that Kupe journeyed south chasing a giant octopus. It was his wife Kuramarotini that first sighted the clouds that signalled land. “He ao, he ao, he ao tea roa” she yelled excitedly after their long journey across the Pacific Ocean. ‘A cloud, a cloud, a long white cloud!’ She and all the voyagers knew that the clouds were gathered over a land mass and that at last their journey was almost over. We have referred to this place as Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud) ever since.
Aotearoa was the last major landmass on earth to be inhabited. In the millennium that we have been here, my people have explored these islands extensively. We named every place and creature we found here. We learned how to live and thrive here.
It is my privilege to be the connection between my manuhiri (guests) and this land. I physically connect you by driving the tour bus upon the road but there is also a spiritual connection happening. You bring your own history and ancestors along with you for the ride.
WHAKAPAPA - GENEALOGY
If you come on my tour bus, I will tell you the story of the demi-god Māui fishing the North Island up out of the ocean - how Te Ika a Māui (the North Island) is Māui’s great fish and that I am proud to come from the tail of the fish. Māui isn’t just a character in a Disney movie to me, he is my ancestor who (I believe) was a great navigator. He voyaged all over the Pacific and accomplished many amazing feats.
TE ĀO MĀORI - THE MĀORI WORLD
I love being Māori. Despite dealing with the negative effects of colonisation and its devastating impact on my people, we are still here. It’s my personal mission to empower my people to be proud of who we are and where we come from. I want to give you an authentic Māori experience during your time in Aotearoa NZ. You may get the opportunity to learn a Māori haka (war dance), twirl a poi (ball on a string), weave a flax bracelet, carve a pounamu (greenstone) pendant or paddle a waka (Māori canoe). All I ask is that you bring your positive energy, keep an open mind and be flexible and I will endeavour to create Māori magic!
MANAAKITANGA - MĀORI HOSPITALITY
We pride ourselves on hospitality in Aotearoa but for Māori, our concept of manaakitanga goes further. Manaakitanga is about caring for ourselves and each other as well as for our visitors. Come on tour with me and support local Māori entrepreneurs. The providers we work with to give you authentic Māori experiences are grounded within their communities. Our award-winning hosts at Kohutapu Lodge are creating positive changes in their community through tourism. The whānau (family) open their doors and their hearts to help our guests experience true manaakitanga.
I also love being a Māori tour guide. It is an honour to take manuhiri around my beautiful country and share my history, language and culture with people who come here from all over the world. The whenua (land) speaks for itself - all I have to do is get to the right place at the right time and wait for that audible sigh of disbelief - “wowwwww”… (it’s music to my ears!) I actually hold my breath and wait for the reaction when we first drive over the rise and see Te Hokianga Nui a Kupe - the glorious Hokianga Harbour where Kupe left to return to Hawaiki or when we get our first impressive glimpse at Kā Tiritiri o te Moana (the Southern Alps). It is my hope that after spending these magical moments with me, you will always look back with fondness at your time with my people here in Aotearoa.
He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.