Experiencing New Zealand's Hospitality (Manaakitanga)

The word ‘manaakitanga’ comes from New Zealand’s Māori language, It is used to describe qualities and principles derived from the verb ‘manaaki’.

Manaaki is about looking after others by extending respect, hospitality, generosity, warmth, and care to them in a way that both honours them and 
enhances your own reputation.

The traditional value of manaakitanga in Māori culture is the foundation of the unique style of hospitality that makes a New Zealand visit so memorable.

How Do you Pronounce Manaakitanga?

Pronounce the ‘a’ as you would in ‘car’ and the ‘ki’ like you would in ‘car key’ – so phonetically it sounds like ma-naa-key-tung-a.

When selling a holiday to New Zealand

you can explain to your clients that New Zealanders want visitors to have a great time in their country and 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.

What does Manaakitanga feel like to a visitor?

  • They will feel welcome.
  • They will be treated more like a new friend than a stranger.
  • New Zealander’s will go out of their way to look after them.
  • Mutual respect - Manaakitanga acknowledges the mana of others as having equal or greater importance than your own.
  • Food and rest - Māori consider that all gatherings or activities should be remembered with fondness and gratitude by those who attended. It is common for hosts to treat their guests to local delicacies, for which their area is well-known.
For New Zealanders, being hospitable, looking after visitors and caring how others are treated - no matter what their standing in society - is of prime importance.  

The Definition of Manaakitanga

As is the case with many Māori words - the meaning of manaakitanga is much broader than can be explained with one word or direct translation. It can be broken down into three parts:
Mana - is about honour, integrity, authority, dignity & reputation.
  • From a Māori world view all people have some inherent mana derived from their ancestry and connection with land and deities.
  • Your mana is strongest when you are located on your own lands where you hold authority.
  • When visiting the lands of others it is expected that you recognise their authority and defer to their mana.
  • Mana can be further enhanced or diminished by your deeds - the things you do and how you treat others. •
  • New Zealanders enhance our mana as a nation by the way we treat visitors. Manaaki has a duality of meaning;
Mana-āki (v) Is to extend mana to others. ‘āki’ means to urge on, encourage, induce, incite.
Mana-a-kĪ (v) is Mana based on how others speak of you, ‘kī’ is to utter, speak, express, mention. Manaakitanga (n) Describes the qualities and principles of manaaki