Loosely translated as hospitality, the custom of manaakitanga infuses Māori society and inspires the contemporary New Zealand visitor experience – summing up the act of welcoming and sharing.
And, whether it’s the nation of New Zealand hosting thousands of international visitors from around the world for a major sports or business event, or an individual on their own self-drive exploration, it is the spirit of manaakitanga that makes a visit to New Zealand unique.
For New Zealand’s Māori people, being hospitable, looking after visitors and caring how others are treated, whatever their standing in society, is of prime importance. This traditional value, expressed as manaakitanga, has influenced the contemporary Kiwi-style hospitality that makes a New Zealand visit memorable.
As with many Māori words – the meaning of manaakitanga is much broader than a one word or direct translation. It can be broken down into several parts: mana-ā-ki which loosely translates as ‘the power of the word’ and reminds hosts to be expressive and fluent in welcoming visitors. It also involves the ideas of mana (prestige) and ki te tangata (to the people).
Manaakitanga encompasses reciprocal hospitality and respect. It acknowledges others as having equal or greater importance than self, through the expression of aroha (love), generosity and mutual respect. In this way, all parties are elevated and the host status is enhanced, building unity through humility and the act of giving.
Food and rest
In Māori culture it is important that hosts provide kai (food) and rest for visitors, and that guests be treated with respect at all times so manaakitanga is expressed in many ways.
It is especially evident on the tribal marae (meeting place) where Māori consider that whatever the gathering or activity from a small family affair to a larger formal event, it should be remembered with fondness and gratitude by those who attended.
A particular emphasis on feeding guests is shared by many Pacific cultures along with other societies around the world. In New Zealand, it is common for hosts to treat their guests, especially at large and significant occasions, to feasts of local delicacies, for which their area is well-known and is seasonally available.
Manaakitanga is a time-honoured practice and many early European settlers experienced Māori hospitality on their arrival in New Zealand. Local Māori often traded and gifted food to settler families and some took individuals into their marae, where they became members of the family or tribe.
The term manaakitanga expresses all of these things and refers to members of communities caring for themselves and each other as well as for their visitors.
Tourism New Zealand is exhibiting at IMEX 2018 being held in Frankfurt from 15-17th May 2018. You can check out all that this country has to offer and can also book a personal appointment for detailed information and discussion for your next event planning. You can access their stand (C300) details and make an appointment here.
Christchurch Convention Centre, is also exhibiting at New Zealand stand C300. The Convention Centre will be a premium meetings and events venue in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, set for completion in early 2020. The unique feature of this centre is the divisible auditorium which will allow up to three major events to run simultaneously, with plenty of break-out space in 14 interconnected meeting rooms. Their flexibility for merging and separating areas to cater perfectly to the size of delegates is praise-worthy. The Centre is designed to be flexible and responsive to every event requirement, catering for groups of 200 to 2000 delegates. The Centre can cater seamlessly for three groups of 250 to 400, or one large 1400 association convention, and trade exhibitions. You can access their stand details (Tourism New Zealand stand C300) and make an appointment here.
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