Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s staff and board have made a formal commitment to establishing cultural competency in tikanga Māori, embarking on a journey to weave Te Ao Māori into the way it goes about its business and engages with the tourism industry.
At a TIA Board meeting in June 2018, the Board held a facilitated deep dive into tikanga Māori and tourism.
The Board was advised that it was necessary for any business to ask why they should incorporate Māori culture, determining what they needed to achieve and then how they were going to do this. Such a journey needs to be taken in small steps, both at a company and personal level.
It was agreed that whilst Māori culture presents a unique selling point for New Zealand, the real opportunity is to naturally weave it into the way New Zealand operates. The tourism industry has an opportunity to play a part in this journey, and as the ‘voice of the industry’, TIA must ensure our tone of voice is right. Now is the right time to move towards cultural competency as a board, organisation and ultimately industry.
“TIA recognises that this commitment is the first step of a journey towards establishing competency, and will take time to realise. We want to establish genuine commitment to Te Ao Māori and create long-term change in our organisation, rather than just ticking a box,” says TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.
He pai te tirohanga ki nga mahara mo ngā raa pahemo engari ka puta te maaramatanga i runga i te titiro whakamua.
It is good to remember the past but wisdom comes from being able to prepare opportunities for the future.
The below statement of commitment was written with TIA Board director and General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikoura Kauahi Ngapora. An engagement and competency plan has also been established to incorporate Māori culture into the organisation and industry in a respectful way that shows leadership in the industry.
Statement of Commitment:
As the peak industry body for tourism in New Zealand we recognise that Māori culture is not only our unique point of difference in this world, but an integral part of what sets us apart as New Zealanders. We must show leadership by our actions and acknowledge the important role Māori culture plays now and in the future for the New Zealand tourism industry.
TIA is embarking on a journey to build cultural competency within the organisation and will embrace with genuine commitment, the weaving of Te Ao Māori into the way it goes about its business and how it engages with the industry.
Journey - This acknowledges the reality that this will not happen overnight, it will require a journey over time that may take many paths before it is realised.
Cultural Competency - This is about normalising Māori culture within the organisation. To get to a point where Māori culture is just part of what we do.
Genuine commitment - This is about going beyond just ticking a box; it is about creating meaningful long-term change for the benefit of the organisation and its People.
Te Ao Māori - A Māori world view, weaving Māori Culture, values and Language into the fabric of the organisation.
Some short-term and readily achievable initiatives are suggested, along with longer-term actions.
Possible short-term competency initiatives:
- Introducing karakia as a norm before and at the conclusion of meetings, events and to bless food at gatherings.
- Learning one or two waiata that all TIA Board members and staff can sing so the organisation can tautoko (support) anyone that stands-up and speaks on behalf of TIA.
- All TIA Board members and staff learning an introductory mihi that can be used to start any speech – something anyone standing up to talk for TIA can deliver.
- TIA staff being supported to create their own Pepeha.
- TIA staff being supported to learn basic te reo.
- Incorporating Maori language in the signage at new TIA office.
- Introducing Māori translation labels to some of the day-to-day items in the office.
- Correct use of macrons in all TIA produced material.
Possible longer-term competency initiatives:
- Organise an annual Wānanga for the whole TIA team (Board invited) on a Marae –to learn about Matauranga Māori, tikanga, language, stories of the area etc. Could move this around annually to different Marae across Aotearoa.
- Consideration of appointing a team member or a cultural advisor that has the necessary skill set to suitably support the Board, CEO and team with its journey, develop a cultural strategy and support engagement with Māori.
- Consideration of formally having a Māori representative on the Board, appointed in consultation with NZ Māori Tourism.
Having in-house Māori expertise would go a long way in supporting engagement (not just with the Māori tourism sector) but that requires greater consideration.
TIA, when forming its business plan for each year, should consider the role Māori could play in each of the strategic priority areas. For many projects it will be beneficial to have a Māori perspective included.
As the peak industry body for tourism in New Zealand we recognise that Māori culture is not only our unique point of difference in this world, but an integral part of what sets us apart as New Zealanders.
TIA changed its name from Tourism Industry Association New Zealand to Tourism Industry Aotearoa in May 2016, to better reflect and acknowledge the importance of Māori culture in New Zealand and the tourism industry.
TIA’s Tourism Sustainability Commitment is being achieved by embracing the three values of manaakitanga (showing great hospitality and generosity to visitors), kaitiakitanga (guarding and protecting our natural and cultural resources) and whanaungatanga (a relationship through shared experiences and working together to provide a sense of belonging) which have been widely adopted as guiding principles within the industry.
“We don’t have words in English that are as good as these three words in terms of describing the tourism industry’s aims,” says Mr Roberts.
“We encourage others in the industry to consider making steps towards embracing Te Ao Māori.”