FOL­LOW YOUR NOSE

Tra­di­tional Maori in­stincts bring na­ture close to heart

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION NEW ZEALAND - SU­SANNA SMITH

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

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