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June 12, 2024
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This World Earth Day, Lean into Sustainability with Māori Tourism Operators in New Zealand

Māori tourism

The annual celebration of Earth Day on 22nd April honours the accomplishments of environmentalists and promotes the importance of preserving the planet’s natural resources for future generations. As nature and natural resources play a huge role in tourism business across the world, there stands a need to preserve, protect and adopt ways that do not harm Mother Earth.

Kiwis are at the forefront when it comes to sustainability. Based on the Māori way of life, Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection) is a method of managing the environment. It’s no surprise that many environmentally conscious tourism operators have used the word to describe the principles that guide their businesses. Many Māori tourism business owners are redefining what sustainable tourism means in their everyday operations in New Zealand. They also believe that the preservation of a culture is as important to the preservation of the land and the sea.

Here are five Māori tourism operators that uphold the value of Kaitiakitanga:

  1. Northland | Footprints Waipoua
Tane_Mahuta-Northland PC_ Miles Holden
Tane_Mahuta-Northland PC_ Miles Holden

Footprints Waipoua takes guests on unforgettable tours through the Waipoua Forest, weaving interesting stories, Māori songs and interpretations through the experience. The forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of native forests and protection of the forest is of utmost importance due to the threat of kauri dieback. Awareness of this disease and the guardianship of the forest is gently woven through the experience and visitors will leave with a new appreciation and connection to the forest.

2. Ngāi Tahu Tourism

If You Seek - Shotover Jet PC_Miles Holden
If You Seek – Shotover Jet PC_Miles Holden

Queenstown and the surrounding area was traditionally an important mahinga kai (resource area) for Ngāi Tahu. Today, Ngāi Tahu Tourism owns businesses like Shotver Jet and Guided Walks in the area, which has helped Ngāi Tahu reconnect to the Queenstown area and be a significant contributor to the local community. The profits from Ngāi Tahu Tourism are used for further investment opportunities and distributed back to the Ngāi Tahu people to support cultural, educational, social and wellbeing initiatives.

3. Kai Waho | Taupo

Kai Waho
Kai Waho

Kai Waho’s base is Tamau Pa, located 700 metres above sea level on the Taupo basin’s rim, and is only reachable by helicopter or an adventurous four-wheel-drive off-road trip. You have exclusive access to this Tuwharetoa tribal territory, which features a gorgeous sub-alpine forest, is secluded, rich in tradition, and is abounding with delicious food. Kai Waho is the quintessential Kiwi experience, handmade for each customer and true to its Maori cultural traditions. It’s purposeful travel that provides a richer experience than a straightforward bushwalk, a day spent outdoors, a fishing trip, or a hunt.

4. Rotorua | Kaitiaki Adventures

Raft Kaituna River PC_Kaitiaki Adventures
Raft Kaituna River PC_Kaitiaki Adventures

Māori owned and operated Kaitiaki Adventures offers both whitewater rafting adventures on Kaituna River and 4WD tours to the summit of historic Mt Tarawera. Along the way in both tours, guests learn from the passionate guides about local mana whenua, their history and relationship to the areas, the unique environments, and so much more. They are heavily involved in several projects relating to the preservation, conservation and protection of natural resources.

5. Hamilton Waikato | Hamilton Gardens

Te Parapara Maori Garden PC_Hamilton Gardens
Te Parapara Maori Garden PC_Hamilton Gardens

Te Parapara, a raditional Māori garden, showcases long-established practices, materials and ceremonies relating to food production and storage. Kumara crops are planted and harvested each year, then distributed to local iwi and charities – and surplus produce from the other producing gardens (like the Kitchen Garden) is given to Kaivolution, a local charity that provides fresh food to local people in need. Hamilton Gardens has a plan to become totally carbon neutral by 2030, including the introduction of carbon offsets and alternative power generation.

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