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Genuine Warmth and Friendliness
Manaakitanga is the Māori principle of hospitality - that every guest is treated with the highest respect and made to feel welcome, safe and comfortable. Therefore it was no coincidence that New Zealand, steeped in cultural traditions from it's indigenous people, Māori, was ranked highest globally on how welcoming it is to tourists, in a recent global survey (1).
Visitors to New Zealand encounter genuine warmth and friendliness, and are able to make lasting connections with the people and the places they are welcomed into. Look After Me Accommodation Network is a company founded on Manaakitanga and offers Māori- and non-Māori-hosted accommodation all over New Zealand.
Global travel trends are indicating that Homestay and hosted accommodation are now a legitimate alternative to motels and hotels. Guests are seeking access to quality local knowledge, particularly about Māoriculture and traditions, such as waiata (songs) and karakia (prayers) and haka (war dance).
Here we feature a small selection of our local hosts - proud to offer visitors to New Zealand the opportunity to get to know more about Māori culutre through the people who live here.
On the Shores of Paradise
In Ruakaka Northland, Paradise Shores retreat is a luxurious accommodation option, situated only two minutes away from the stunning white sand surf beach. Hosts Morgan and Rowan are keen to share their connections with the local Patuharakeke Iwi as well as insider knowledge on local bush walks and fishing spots.
New Zealand Farm Life
Another Māori-friendly Look After Me accommodation option is the modernized shearer’s quarters at Whiorau station. On a farm, the same principle of Manaakitanga applies but there’s no need to rough it! Hosts Jo and Hilton, who have enduring connections to the farm and surrounding land, provide a choice of four guests rooms, depending on your needs. There is also the opportunity to explore the working farm and there is always something going on.
‘Out in the Sticks’ (Rural Accommodation)
As can be seen from the above two options, Māori-based accommodation offers a lot of diversity, and Diggers Valley Homestay is another option in the rich tapestry of New Zealand hospitality. The classic getaway near Kaitaia is a modern home, but in quite a rural setting. The hosts, Lisa and William, who speak both English and Māori, are keen to share the cultural experience. They also recommend visiting the Herekino Forest, a haven for some of New Zealand’s threatened species.
Bliss in Nature
There is no beating a peaceful log cabin in the bush, fully immersed in nature, yet with the cities of Tauranga, Whakatane and Rotorua all under an hour’s travel away. This is Te Whare o Mokomoko, situated in the idyllic surroundings of Lake Rotoehu. Both rooms have queen sized beds. There are a variety of tramping tracks and lakes in the vicinity, and the option of a Māori cultural experience of paddling a waka at Hamurana Springs, Rotorua. To completely bliss out, you can even bathe in a natural soda spring.
The Full Connection
Manaakitanga is not only tied with being welcomed into people’s homes; it is intimately connected with the land and place. Each of Look After Me’s Māori based accommodation options offers a distinct experience which has people not only feeling at home amongst the hosts but also amongst the surroundings, and able to connect with the wairua (essence) of a place.
Look After Me was the company that helped facilitate quality Homestay experiences for both the Korean and the Chinese families of popular TV show 'Daddy, where are we Going', filmed in Rotorua. Our celebrity families were matched with Māori and non-Māori families so they could experience local Māori culture and activities like fishing, Māori dance and songs.
1. Global Tourism Study, March 2013: The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, 2013. Retrieved fromhttp://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TT_Competitiveness_Report_2013.pdf. 28 March 2013.
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