New Zealanders want manuhiri (visitors) to have an enjoyable time in their country and they will go to great lengths to ensure they do. New Zealanders are known for being friendly and welcoming, which is influenced by a Māori belief that your mana, or reputation, is enhanced by welcoming visitors and looking after them like they are part of your family.
We invited a couple of well-respected and passionate guides from operators around Aotearoa to share what Manaakitanga means to them and how it transpires through their tourism products.
Here’s what they had to say.
Dunedin Coastline, South Island, New Zealand
Photo by: Camilla Rutherford
Joe Waide, WanaHaka Tours
To me Manaakitangi means extending friendship, kindness, and hospitality to people, allowing them the ability to connect more deeply with the whenua (land) and the people here in Wānaka and Queenstown.
I encourage all visitors to show respect for the whenua and the environment on their travels. Showing kindness and friendship also demonstrates the principles of the Manaakitanga.
My tours are personalized experiences, and over the years my guests and I have built bonds and friendships that transcend time. In fact, I continue to stay in contact with many of my guests well past the experience we had initially.
That to me is true and sincere Manaakitanga.
Ariana Brailey, Te Puia
The home I grew up in as a child was next door to my marae (meeting house). We all had a role in caring for people that came to our marae, even from an early age. My grandma impressed upon us this whakatauki (proverb) “He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu” which means “a person who disrespects their guests, will have a dusty marae.” So, to me Manaakitanga means to care for, awhi awhi, to nurture and respect people.
To give manaaki to our manuhiri, our visitors to Te Puia is to show them respect, patience, care. It is a responsibility that I try to uphold not only as a guide but as a person in my everyday life. As a value, Manaakitanga is not something that I put on as I walk through the gate, it is something that is within me.
I believe that what you give out, you receive back. Our culture is so beautiful and when I can share that with manuhiri (visitors), often they respond with acknowledgment of their own backgrounds and upbringing. To me, sharing these stories not only makes my day but it is a genuine way that visitors can reciprocate the principles of Manaakitanga when they are visiting Aotearoa (New Zealand).
Te Puia, Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand