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 began operating in 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. Our whanau (extended family) were nvolved in the business from the beginning.
We 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."
Closing down hasn't been an easy decision.
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.
“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.”
Ngai TahuNgai 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 KuriNgati 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 MaraeTakahanga ‘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
Department of Conservation Concessionaire
Rankers Independent Traveller Awards
Earthcheck Platinum Certified
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.
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.
Our family determined because we were in essence ‘trading in the culture’, we needed to make all our decisions based on traditional Maori values.
Adhering to these values began even before we set up the business, as we firstly went to our whanau (family), kaumatua (the elders) and the Kaikoura Runanga (recognized tribal authority in our area) to explain what we were proposing for a cultural experience, and more importantly to seek their support and approval. If we hadn’t received this mandate, we wouldn’t be operating today.
This was the right thing to do – and we believe that if you do the right thing, the right things will happen. The stories we tell are the stories of our whanau and hapu and it was essential they were okay with us telling them.
We work hard to be responsible members of our whanau, hapu, iwi and community and if you would like to know more about our social responsibility commitment, feel free to contact us.
Environmental Policy Statement
Trees for Travellers
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