New Zealand’s Māori cultural values will be a key focus of MEETINGS 2018, the country’s leading business events exhibition this week in Auckland.
Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says New Zealand’s Māori culture gives business event organisers a unique point of difference in a competitive international environment.
“Our culture sets Aotearoa New Zealand apart on the world stage. Our venue designers, our artists, our leaders, and our hosts are embracing Māori culture at many levels in their business event thinking.
“Māori culture is more than something we do, it is who we are, from the way we greet our visitors, to the time and care we take in hosting them,” she says.
The three core values of Māori culture Kaitiakitanga – the guardianship and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources, Manaakitanga – showing respect, warm hospitality, generosity and care for others, and Whanaungatanga – a relationship through shared experiences and working together, giving people a sense of belonging.
“These values underpin what we do, give visitors a deeper connection to New Zealand and a greater understanding of our capabilities and our culture,” Sue Sullivan says.
Before MEETINGS 2018 opened on Wednesday 30 May, CINZ Māori culture advisor Ngahihi o-te-ra Bidois blessed the exhibition space at ASB Showgrounds, and the stands and food served to guests with traditional karakia (prayers). He will do the same at the event’s conclusion on 31 May and wish safe travels for all visitors.
As the Kaiārahi Māori, or Māori guide, for the New Zealand Story programme, Karl Wixon is responsible for the infusion, inclusion and development of Māori culture, character and content into the New Zealand Story programme. At MEETINGS 2018 he will present a Masterclass for Professional Conference Organisers (PCO), to guide them to a deeper understanding of Māori culture, and showing what can be done to integrate Māori values into events in a meaningful way.
“Karl will help participants navigate through aspects of incorporating Māori culture into their business events, and guide them to articulate our unique Kiwi identity,” she says.
The MEETINGS PCO Masterclass is sponsored by Claudelands in Hamilton, where Māori culture is highlighted throughout the building design which gives a unique opportunity for the venue to help bring that story to life throughout conferences and events.
In total, 19 regions of New Zealand are represented at MEETINGS 2018, all of them have something different to offer on a cultural level, with stories, people and places specific to their local region. Wharewaka and Wellington venues are demonstrating the significance culture plays in bringing central Wellington to life, for example.
This year Northland returns to MEETINGS with exhibitors including Foot Prints Waipoua, The Heads at Omapere – new secluded villas supported by Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga, and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. They will be sharing their stories and looking to build on relationships to grow and strengthen their business within the Te Tai Tokerau region.
New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis who will speak at MEETINGS, is also Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, and local MP for the Te Tai Tokerau region.