New partnership with cruise ships at marae
Bay of Islands-Taiamai hapu¯ set up the inaugural Ma¯ori Market at Waitangi Marae on Sunday — the outcome of a partnership with Princess Cruises, which will promote the markets and shuttle passengers throughout the cruise ship season.
Hone Mihaka, a representative of the hapu¯ collective, said “tears of joy and happiness” flowed as those involved reflected on the first market at a meeting attended by Princess Cruises representative Sandy Olsen.
“We feel this partnership will put the marae and our people once again in a positive light in terms of Waitangi,” he said. “We’ve been bashed up over the last few years. We’ve always been referred to as the trouble makers on Waitangi Day and all that sort of stuff, but everyone seems to forget we’ve been hosting arrivals since the first came here over 200 years ago. By and large our people have been inviting and welcoming.”
Mr Mihaka said the market, which showcased Northland Ma¯ori arts, crafts and trade, attracted a steady stream of people.
“Everybody made money. So today there are Ma¯ori families out there in their communities, stallholders who were there yesterday, and today they are injecting new revenue into our local economy. They’re contributing to the overall wellbeing of our region and our nation,” he said. Cruise passengers had enjoyed the interaction.
“We had one of our old kuia sitting in the marae telling stories about the inside of the house, and the old people who have all gone. It’s the real stuff, and what it does is connect the visitor to us,” he said.
The hapu¯ had secured 15 market dates to align with cruise ships, the next on November 7.
He said hapu¯ wereusing their culture in tourism.
“While our people and our tribe are awaiting and negotiating our way through the towers of bureaucracy in terms of the settlement processes, this collective of hapu¯ are getting on with establishing our own economic security. We’re really excited,” he said.
Ms Olsen said Princess Cruises saw the market as the start of a conversation with the broader Northland community, and expect the collaboration to grow over time.
“While Majestic Princess’ maiden visit to Bay of Islands is the catalyst for the market, we envisage it will support all cruise ship visits irrespective of the cruise line, and that is the real power of the conversation that Hone and I had some months ago,” she said.
Robyn Stent, Paihia Business Association chair, said retailers were struggling to compete with markets, but markets at the local marae was good news.
“This is getting money that will go into their community. It comes to the Far North in general, the people who need it in the Far North. We just think it’s wonderful,” she said.
One of the art and craft stalls at Waitangi’s first Ma¯ ori markets.