A Ma­jes­tic wel­come

Cruise Weekly - - News - with Jill Abel - CEO

I WAS hon­oured to have been in­vited by the New Zealand Cruise As­so­ci­a­tion to at­tend the wel­come cer­e­mony for the Ma­jes­tic Princess into the Bay of Is­lands last week. This meld­ing of present and past cul­tures was sig­nif­i­cant for the re­gion as it was also the lo­ca­tion for the sign­ing of the Wai­tangi treaty in 1840, be­tween rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Bri­tish Crown and Maori Chiefs, which recog­nised the Maori own­er­ship of their lands.

We were hum­bled by the warmth and gen­eros­ity of the lo­cal Maori peo­ple who greeted the cruise pas­sen­gers and in­vited them to par­tic­i­pate in cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing row­ing the waka (tra­di­tional ca­noes) and vis­it­ing their mar­kets.

In a pri­vate cer­e­mony in their beau­ti­ful com­mu­nal grounds, sev­eral of us in­clud­ing se­nior reps from Princess Cruises, were treated to fur­ther entertainment. This great ex­pe­ri­ence re­minded me of the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for our cruise pas­sen­gers to en­gage with lo­cal Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties so they can share their sto­ries and tra­di­tions. It also pro­vides im­por­tant eco­nomic ben­e­fits. We also saw this in Broome when our con­fer­ence at­ten­dees en­joyed a tour with Bart Pi­gram, a Yawuru man from the Kimberley re­gion who runs Nar­li­jia tours, a must-do on many cruise itin­er­ar­ies. Soon I will speak at the Aus­tralian Indige­nous Tourism Con­fer­ence where I will be hum­bled to share these ex­pe­ri­ences which il­lus­trate how cruise travel can forge an im­por­tant bond and un­der­stand­ing be­tween com­mu­ni­ties.

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