Te Manaakitanga i roto i ngā ahumahi Tāpoi - the interpretation of manaakitanga from a Māori tourism supplier perspective
Martin, Frances Kahui
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Manaakitanga plays an important role in Māori society. There are several meanings associated to this Māori cultural concept, one of which refers to the fostering and nurturing of relationships between a host and a visitor. The well-being of the visitor is paramount to the development of this relationship as the mana (prestige) of the host is at stake. If the host fails to manaaki (support) their visitor this could result in the loss of mana within the Māori community as the host has shown they are incapable of attending to the needs of others. In recent times, there has been an increased presence of the term manaakitanga in tourism related documents, which has generated several interpretations of this cultural concept. Currently, various government organisations use this concept as a basis for developing both short and long-term strategies. This is particularly noticeable in the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015. However, there are varied interpretations of the term manaakitanga by the tourism industry, which are in conflict with Māori operators understanding and knowledge of manaakitanga reflected in their businesses. In order to contextualise the experiences and perspectives provided by Māori tourism operators, a theoretical framework has been developed. This framework called ‘Te Kōhai’ located in kaupapa Māori (Māori ideology) ideology best reflects the world-view of the participants who form the basis of this study. Thus, this study has been prompted by the research question - how is manaakitanga interpreted in a Māori tourism operation? Possible misinterpretation of manaakitanga may result in the concept being used incorrectly and the transgression of cultural practices, thus compromising the experiences offered by Māori tourism operations. It is important then, to investigate, whether manaakitanga is understood as ‘hospitality’ in the tourism industry and more specifically, by people who work within a Māori tourism operation. Additionally, it is important to determine how staff employed in a Māori tourism operation, understand and portray this concept. Subsequently, interpretations of manaakitanga from the perspective of Māori tourism operators, forms the basis of this thesis.