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A REAL insight into Maori
people & our way of life...

Join us as we share more than 800 years of
unbroken family history & tradition in Kaikoura

Family owned
and operated

Maori Tours Kaikoura is the first Maori cultural experience to be offered in Kaikoura.
The business was set up by Maurice and Heather Manawatu and has been operating since January 2002.
Maurice is from the hapu (sub-tribe) Ngati Kuri, and the iwi (main tribe) is Ngai Tahu. Heather is of mainly Scots and Irish descent. Many of their whanau (extended family) are involved in the business and have been from the beginning.

Our family have worked in tourism for a long time, the combined experience of Heather and Maurice alone spans more than 50 years.

They say "Hosting visitors, making them feel welcome and creating new friendships comes naturally - we can't imagine doing anything else."

Authentic
experience

During the set up stage we held several hui (gatherings) with family members to discuss what kind of business we wanted to be and what type of tour we would offer visitors to Kaikoura. From those gatherings we identified two key outcomes:

  • To offer refreshingly authentic experiences of ‘our place’ and deliver them in a  personal and natural way.
  • Use traditional Maori values in our daily operations and in all our business affairs.

Mission Statement

“Share our unique culture, location and history in a natural and intimate way; whilst preserving our values and strengthening the development of our people – educationally, economically and spiritually.”

Our Heritage

Ngai Tahu

Ngai Tahu is the largest tribe in the South Island of New Zealand in both land area and people. Tribal members all descend from a common ancestor ‘Tahu Potiki’ who is the son of Paikea the Whale Rider. Ngai Tahu translates to Tahu’s People. In total there are 18 'hapu' (sub tribes) that make up Ngai Tahu today.

Ngati Kuri

Ngati Kuri are the Hapu in the Kaikoura area and we are members of that sub-tribe. Our boundary extends north from Kaikoura to Pari Nui O Whiti, south to the Hurunui river and west through the Kaikoura mountain ranges to Hanmer Springs.

Today the majority of Ngati Kuri live outside the tribal area. Those living in Kaikoura are known as the ‘Ahi Ka’ which means it’s our role to keep the fires burning for all our Ngati Kuri whanau who may one day return home. This is a responsibility we accept and embrace.

Our ‘Kaumatua’ (elders) are the backbone of the tribe and they provide us with encouragment and support and they make sure we adhere to correct protocol. Prior to setting up Maori Tours Kaikoura we approached our Kaumatua seeking their approval to visit special places and tell the stories of the area. Permission was willingly given and we’re very grateful for this - as had it not Maori Tours Kaikoura would not be here today.

Takahanga Marae

Takahanga ‘Marae’ (gathering place for Maori) is our spiritual base. Many years ago the elders made the decision to keep it as a working Marae and not to open it up to tourism. The Marae is private property so you’re unable to enter and wander around unattended - just the same as a private home. Visitors need to be formally welcomed whilst observing the correct protocols.

For this reason our tours don’t include a visit to Takahanga Marae, although we have been granted permission to use the private access road and view the grounds and buildings, so long as there aren't official functions or activities taking place.

Qualmark Quality Assured

Maori Tours Kaikoura has been recognized as one of New Zealand’s leading tourism businesses by being licensed to carry the Qualmark™ endorsement - New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. For more information about this endorsement please visit www.qualmark.co.nz

Department of Conservation Concessionaire

Maori tours Kaikoura is a Department of Conservation (DOC) approved Concessionaire and a portion of your fare is given to DOC. DOC is the central government organization charged with conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage for all to enjoy now and in the future. You can learn more about DOC by visiting www.doc.govt.nz

Rankers Independent Traveller Awards

We were awarded 'Best Cultural Activity in New Zealand' by Rankers in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015. In 2010 we also won the Supreme Award for Best Visitor Attraction in the country which was one of our most humbling moments. To learn more, visit www.rankers.co.nz.

Earthcheck Platinum Certified

The Kaikoura Community has successfully met the requirements for benchmarking under the Earthcheck Environmental Programme - a reflection of the respect we hold for the environment.
This status suggests everyone in our small isolated town is contributing in some way towards sustainability and maintaining our unique and natural environment.
We're very proud to be part of such a great community.

Social Responsibility

In an age where there is increasingly more pressure on business to be more socially responsible – we’re thankful for the path we chose at the outset.
Back in 2001, we wanted a better future for our whanau, hapu and community, so decided to use Maori values as the method for decision making, and to guide our actions.

Social Responsibility 2017

Environmental Policy Statement

Environmental Policy 2017

Qualmark have awarded us Enviro GOLD – check out what this means on the Qualmark website.

Trees for Travellers

As visitor numbers to Kaikoura increase, there is a corresponding increase in greenhouse gas emissions from higher traffic levels and energy use. Planting a tree will reduce greenhouse gases and offset your carbon footprint.


Maori Tours Kaikoura actively supports this fantastic Kaikoura community and purchases a tree in our guests name for each departure. We encourage you to do so as well. For more info and to purchase a tree please visit www.treesfortravellers.co.nz