We all have a role to play in looking after this awesome place. From the mountains to the sea, we look after our Taonga (treasure) no matter its size, and we invite visitors to join us on the journey, the Kiwi way.
Therefore, visitors to New Zealand should take on the same respect and care as ‘honorary’ New Zealanders.
Respect our Culture
Māori are the tangata whenua, the first inhabitants and indigenous people, of New Zealand. Today Māori history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.
Your clients will experience Māori culture in many of the activities they do and there are also plenty of opportunities to hear fascinating stories and legends from passionate guides. It is fine to ask questions and your clients are encouraged to join in and share the cultural traditions, but there are some basic guidelines that you should make your clients aware of to avoid offending locals while travelling.
- Don’t sit or stand on tables or picnic chairs – food is sacred in Māori tradition and food preparation or serving surfaces should be equally respected.
- Don’t touch a Māori person’s head - The head is considered sacred and it can make a Māori person uncomfortable if touched by a stranger.
- Make hosts aware of dietary requirements in advance – food is a huge part of the culture and therefore many activities will incorporate some sort of snack or meal. It can be embarrassing for hosts if they are unable to cater for a member of a group.
- Don’t disturb our Taonga (treasures) – You clients will hear many stories and legends about our landmarks and how these amazing landscapes were formed. Some of the mountains, islands and lakes are so important to Māori culture that they are considered Taonga (treasure) and are therefore off limits to non-Māori. There may also be other sacred sites like burial grounds. Please respect all signs.
- Ask before taking photos – this is just polite, if your clients are entering a marae they should keep in mind that this is still an active part of the Māori community and as such should be respected like visiting someone’s home