Āmiki Tours(opens in new window) was founded by Riwai and his wife Cate, who recognised her husband’s love of telling a yarn. The pair are natural hosts. During Riwai’s more than 20 years in New Zealand’s fire and emergency services, he would often guide lost travellers around the city. A life of storytelling and good food sounded pretty good so the pair built a business around doing what they love.
However, beyond its picturesque parks and impressive colonial architecture there are very special treasures hidden in plain sight that Riwai and his guides love to reveal. From stories about the first Māori that settled on the shores of the river, the whalers, missionaries and settlers who came later, to the artists that have created incredible monuments to the area’s unique history, there isn’t an inch of Riwai’s beloved town that he doesn’t know intimately.
For instance, even inhabitants of the city might not have taken the time to look down at the amazing Whāriki under their feet – a series of 13 weaving patterns made up of paving stones that can be found around the Avon River Precinct that tell the story of a welcome ceremony on a marae, a traditional meeting house.
Eat, drink and be merry
Manaakitanga, generous hospitality, is one of the most important values of Māori culture. Āmiki’s great passion is sharing that with visitors. They know every restaurant, cafe, market stall and food truck vendor in town. While you walk and hear the fascinating tales of the city, you’ll pop into some of Riwai’s favourite places where you’ll be treated like family and served the best kai the city has to offer.
Destinations will vary depending on what visitors feel like, the season or the time of day, but deliciousness and a warm welcome is always guaranteed.
For the love of their community
Even greater than their appetitie for good kai is the pair’s love for their community. This is reflected in Whānau Whanake, Cate and Riwai’s social enterprise helping to support adults and young people with chronic health conditions.
They teach gardening and healthy food habits, and promote inclusive and accessible group activities like boxing or the famous Iron Māori – a triathlon open to people of all ages and abilities. Āmiki’s(opens in new window) visitors may find themselves being encouraged to join a sports game or a fun run, or just as likely a bed for the night and a home cooked meal. It’s for this reason Cate and Riwai can boast that they have somewhere to stay in nearly every country in the world. Those who come as visitors always leave as friends.