FOLLOW YOUR NOSE
Traditional Maori instincts bring nature close to heart
Apassionate, beseeching chant calls to us from across a lush hillside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean on the Kaikoura Peninsula north of Christchurch. Ane is performing the traditional karanga to welcome us to the land that her people, the Ngati Kuri, have called home for more than 800 years on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
In accordance with tradition, we follow Ane through a grove of pine trees to meet Maurice Manawatu, Ane’s uncle, our tour leader and operator of Maori Tours – a family owned business that shows visitors sites of importance to local Maori.
Maurice welcomes us and introduces himself via a traditional Maori mihimihi, or welcome speech, stating his maunga (mountain), awa (river) and moana (sea), waka (ancestral canoe), hapū (sub tribe), iwi (tribe) and marae (meeting grounds). We are each given a Maori name and our group recites our own mihimihi. My name while here is Rua.
After a traditional hongi greeting – touching noses and foreheads while shaking hands – Maurice reminds us that once a hongi has been shared, we are tangata whenua, one of the people of the land, and must share the duties and responsibilities that go with this.
Our group hails from across the globe with iwi from as far afield as