Two Far North attractions are featured in a new TV series on Whakaata Māori about indigenous tourism.
Manea: Footprints of Kupe, in Ōpononi, and Kawiti Glow Worm Caves at Waiomio, just south of Kawakawa, feature in episodes in the new 10-part travel series The Rise of Indigenous Tourism: Tapuwae: Leave Only Footprints.
TV Personality Pio Terei has embarked on an epic journey of his own to meet the inspirational people of Hawai’i and Aotearoa who share their indigenous mātauranga, taonga, and authentic stories through tourism as part of a global $65 billion indigenous tourism wave.
The programme premieres on Tuesday, December 5, at 7.30pm on Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+.
Episode six, on January 9, will feature Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and episode nine, on January 30, will feature Manea: Footprints of Kupe.
Terei said there is a strong message of respect for the environment, of kaitiakitanga, underpinning all the tourism businesses featured in the series.
“The message we heard is, ‘yes, we welcome you’, but there is also a strong expectation that manuhiri will respect these spaces, too. That you will listen, be entertained, be changed by these experiences – and leave only footprints,” he said.
“It is incredible to see the power of indigenous storytelling and the sharing of taonga on their own terms and in ways that are authentic, meaningful and sustainable.’’
Concepts of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga have always been at the heart of indigenous cultures, and it is these values that create rich, intimate and memorable experiences, Terei said.
”We visit small whānau operators like Taonga by Timoti, where visitors are invited to ‘find and bring out the personality of pounamu’ and meet a Hawaiian mother and daughter who teach the secrets of making traditional lei from their home.
“We meet a New Zealand surfing legend who simply wants to connect people with Tangaroa, and the Hawaiian sisters who starred in iconic surf movie Blue Crush.’’
Along the way he is joined by special guests, including artist and entertainer Luke Whaanga, Mai FM’s Tegan Yorwarth, and Whakaata Māori news presenter Neil Waka.
The series highlights the fact that successful indigenous tourism isn’t dependent on massive infrastructure or deep pockets to create authentic cultural experiences. These ventures are strongly kaupapa-driven and some have generated employment and other opportunities for whānau members over many generations.”
Tourism contributed $10 billion to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product in 2022 and employed more than 145,000 people. Globally, indigenous tourism is forecast to rise to more than $100 billion over the next decade.
Tourism in Northland was estimated to be worth up to $1 billion a year before the Covid pandemic shut borders, and the region’s tourism leaders hope to get it back to that level.