New part­ner­ship with cruise ships at marae

The Northland Age - - Local News -

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.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

One of the art and craft stalls at Wai­tangi’s first Ma¯ ori mar­kets.

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