An Educational Holiday.
The word in Maori for hospitality, kindness, caring and sharing is Manaakitanga. This concept of Manaakitanga is immersed into Maori culture, and even though I’ve only recently learned this word, I could immediately identify a number of experiences from my childhood in New Zealand where I had seen manaakitanga in action. What a perfect place to holiday!
If you’ve visited WorldMark Resort Rotorua, you’ll already know that there are lots of opportunities to experience manaakitanga in action for yourself. A great place to start is the Rotorua Museum and for a complete experience you could visit Tamaki Maori Village. An extra benefit is that the entire family will come away having learned about another culture – I love holidays that are educational as well as relaxing!
Here are 3 aspects of Maori culture I recommend you explore.
1 . Food. There are a number of places in Rotorua where you can feast on a traditional hangi. The smell of the food cooking is only beaten by the taste! The slow cooked meat is so soft it really does just fall off the bone. If you can, try to eat your hangi feast outside, under the stars. Often, your meal will be accompanied by a concert – another aspect of Maori culture that I’m sure you’ll love!
2. Stories. The stories of Maui told to me as a child, still remain with me today. Maui was a bit of a rascal, famous for taming the sun and fishing up the North Island! If you would like to read up on these stories before you visit New Zealand, visit the Maori History website. If you’re staying at WorldMark Rotorua you might also like to take a Maori Guided Tour. Your guide is sure to share stories of the local people with you!
3. Crafts and Jewellery – Sometimes this is referred to as Taonga – Something treasured. You might find some beautiful, meaningful treasures and gifts while staying in Rotorua. Perhaps a delicately woven basket with paua shell clasps or a carved piece of greenstone to wear as a necklace. The Hot Lakes Craft Market, held monthly, is a great place to start your treasure hunt. If the market is not being held during your visit, check out the Taonga Gallery. This is part of Te Puia, New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute – another great place to immerse yourself in Maori culture!
As one of the hubs of Maori culture in New Zealand, Rotorua is a great place to learn. And you needn’t worry about the sulphur smell. It just adds to the atmosphere and you won’t even notice it after a while!
Do you like to learn about the local culture when holidaying? What’s your favourite place to visit?