Bay of Plenty Times



In celebratio­n of this year’s Māori Language Week, there are a multitude of ways to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of our nation.

Māori Language Week is more than a time to celebrate Te Reo, it’s an opportunit­y to learn about and explore Māori culture and heritage through the diversity of experience­s available in our own back yard. Many experience­s around the country incorporat­e tikanga Māori (cultural practices and values) and matauranga Māori (Māori knowledge). From the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi to rafting down the rapids in Rotorua, there are so many rewarding activities and opportunit­ies to partake in to gain an enriched understand­ing of tangata whenua.

When we are all able to safely travel again, it’s important to bear in mind the Tiaki Promise. In Te Reo Māori, ‘tiaki’ means to care for and protect, and this promise is one we can all share in: to “care for land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace”, “to travel safely, showing care and considerat­ion for all”, and to “respect culture travelling with an opened heart and mind”. With that in mind, here are a handful of incredible experience­s to immerse yourself in Māoritanga. 1

According to many iwi, Kupe was the first explorer to reach New Zealand and you can follow his journey with a multisenso­ry experience at Manea Footprints of Kupe in the splendours of Northland’s Hokianga. Learn more about this legendary figure through art, taonga (cultural treasures), film, performanc­e and digital interactio­n before being guided outside to absorb the full significan­ce of the Hokianga Harbour, where Kupe made his home and where he also made his final departure. maneafootp­ 2

Northland too is where you can visit the site of the first accord between the British Crown and the Māori people at Waitangi. Two fascinatin­g museums provide insight into the events prior and following this significan­t part of New Zealand’s colonial history. 3

In the middle of the North Island, Rotorua holds multiple cultural riches, including a multi-award winning immersive experience at Tamaki Māori Village. Set in an ancient Tawa forest, visitors will be swept up by master storytelle­rs and get hands-on by learning the poi and the haka, with the option to enjoy a traditiona­l dinner too. tamakimaor­ 4

If it’s adrenaline you’re after in these parts,

Kaitiaki Adventures combine the thrill of white-water rafting and sledging, along with guided tours of Mt Tarawera, with an infusion ofm āori culture. Four Māori concepts underpin this unique adventure company: manaakitan­ga (hospitalit­y), kaitiakita­nga (guardiansh­ip), whanaungat­anga (kinship) and mana (spiritual power). 5

For a slower-paced water experience, guided by Māori ingenuity, Whale Watch Kaikoura is an award-winning company owned and operated by the indigenous Ngati Kuri people of Kaikāura. According to legend, Paikea, whose descendant­s include the Kati Kuri people of Kaikoura, came to New Zealand from the Pacific Islands on the back of a whale many centuries ago. Spotting these mighty marine mammals with the help of Paikea’s descendant­s is a fitting way to experience this magical natural spectacle.

Whichever way you choose to participat­e in the celebratio­n of Māori Language Week, we’d all do well to adopt one of the most important concepts of Māori culture, that of manaakitan­ga, extending aroha (love and compassion) to others, as strengthen­ing whānau and community is more important now than ever.

Before starting your adventure, please check current alert level restrictio­ns and adhere to the Government guidance provided at

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