After tours exploring our natural landscape, our adventure tourism and unique Kiwi culture, the team from National Geographic have returned to Rotorua to experience manaakitanga, and what makes the city such a welcoming destination.

In the first global tourism campaign of its kind for New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand has partnered with National Geographic to help the organisation discover what manaakitanga really means.

The crew were in Rotorua earlier this week, where "National Geographic explorers" spent time with Te Taru White, Kirimatao West and James Rickard.

White was filming the introduction for the video, giving them an insight into what manaakitanga means in a cultural sense.

Advertisement

"It's more than just hospitality, it's about mana.

"Respecting the mana of the people who are being welcomed."

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said New Zealanders were world famous for manaakitanga, warm welcomes, hospitality, generosity and respect towards visitors.

"National Geographic are already big fans of our stunning natural landscapes, but it's what they've heard about our visitors leaving New Zealand feeling like family, like whānau, that's inspired them to explore further."

The National Geographic team shoot Te Taru White for its new project. Photo / Stephen Parker
The National Geographic team shoot Te Taru White for its new project. Photo / Stephen Parker

National Geographic director of partnerships Andrew Nelson said as a partner, Tourism New Zealand had been amazing to work with because they had such an active approach to promoting what the country has to offer.

He said Rotorua was chosen as a filming destination because of its display of traditional Māori culture and a place with a diverse range of tourism options.

One of the National Geographic explorers, photographer Erika Larsen, said the trip had been amazing.

"I've wanted to come here for a really long time and didn't think I'd ever get the chance."

She said she was interested in learning about Māori culture and language and how that related to our unique landscape.

National Geographic explorer Erika Larsen is excited to be in New Zealand. Photo / Stephen Parker
National Geographic explorer Erika Larsen is excited to be in New Zealand. Photo / Stephen Parker

Rotorua Economic Development chief executive Michelle Templer said it had been an exciting project to work on.

"It's been exciting to share some of Rotorua's personal stories of manaakitanga with millions of potential visitors from USA, UK, Australia and Germany.

"These are all important tourism markets for us so it's great to have this strategic partnership showcasing Rotorua in such a significant campaign."

She said locals know the city is rich with examples of people who embody the spirit of manaakitanga by sharing their life experiences and connecting visitors to the stories of this land.

"The local people who met the National Geographic explorers have been extremely generous with their time and I'm really looking forward to seeing their stories brought to life through National Geographic's work."