Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te manuhiri

With your food basket and my food basket, the visitors will thrive

Tourism is an economic enabler for many communities throughout New Zealand, and for Māori it is an opportunity to build positive economic pathways for whanau (family) into the future. With those economic pathways comes the chance to create employment opportunities that would bring people back home. The trend of Māori leaving smaller rural communities to chase employment in larger urban environments is a concern for many elder Māori who want to see their local areas thrive as they once did.

Māori culture remains a large drawcard for visitors and is a truly unique selling point for New Zealand as a destination. Many Māori communities around Aotearoa, New Zealand have already embraced tourism as an economic pathway for their people. There are more who are looking toward the industry as an opportunity to build something sustainable for their whanau, hapū (subtribe) and iwi (people), and it’s not just about providing a view into how Māori once lived, or our performing arts.

Aotearoa, New Zealand is a land of stories and a land of storytellers, and travelers are looking for an opportunity to connect with local people and hear the stories they have to tell. Stories that bring our landscapes and our environments alive. A challenge for Māori and non-Māori who are looking to tell these stories is to understand what can and cannot be shared. It is no longer acceptable just to find a story or historical connection on the internet to share with guests, as many will query the source in their own quest for authenticity.

There is often the misconception that the story and experiences shared with visitors must be hugely significant and at times heartbreaking for those who are telling the story, but that is not the case. A small window into who we are as Māori, and what our landscapes mean to us is just as poignant to visitors as some of the more heart wrenching moments within our histories. An understanding of what that spectrum of authenticity looks like for Māori and how it differs for visitors is important when you are looking to develop an experience.

TRC Tourism has a series of processes that we have developed that can assist in the development of indigenous tourism experiences. From the creation of a strong values-based Business Plan, underpinned with cultural values, through to the development of a robust strategic plan on a page to achieve identified aspirations, and even a unique process to identify the stories that can be shared, and those that can’t.

If you need help developing your tourism experience, we would love to work with you. Give us a call.