New Zealand’s unique Maori culture will be front and centre of the country’s leading business events exhibition, CINZ MEETINGS 2017 in Auckland this month.
Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says Maori culture is infused into every aspect of MEETINGS, from the set-up of the exhibition, through to the welcoming ceremonies.
“Our culture is New Zealand’s point of difference, and it creates a strong sense of place for people attending business events here. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else.
“Its core values underpin everything we do. They give our visitors a deep connection to the country and its people,” she says.
NZ Maori Tourism Director of Regions, Simon Phillips says it is all about sharing our authentic stories, our people, and our places.
“It’s not a show, or put on – it’s just what we do. It’s about how we make our manuhiri (visitors) feel. We want them to feel welcome here, to feel at home. They may arrive as strangers, but we want them to leave as whanau (family),” he says.
Before MEETINGS 2017 opens on 30 May, CINZ Maori culture advisor Ngahihi o-te-ra Bidois will bless 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 1 June, and wish safe travels for all visitors.
Ngahi Bidois says CINZ is leading the way when it comes to authenticating indigenous New Zealand Maori culture.
“This has been demonstrated by CINZ ongoing commitment to honouring and incorporating aspects of te reo Maori (language) and tikanga Maori (values) into major events such as MEETINGS. Maori culture is not just something CINZ does, it is who we are,” he says.
Nineteen regions of New Zealand are represented on the show floor, and all of them have something different to offer on a cultural level, with stories, people and places specific to their local region.
For example, multiple global award winning TIME Unlimited Tours, a national luxury tour operator, will be showcasing their bespoke experiences for business visitors. Director Ceillhe Sperath, of Ngapuhi Maori descent, says they specialise in creating two-way dialogue and interactive luxury itineraries with a cultural, seasonal and regional focus. The Winter TIME Collection begins in June with the narrative-built around the Maori New Year (known as Matariki) as one of many seasonal themes to showcase the best of Maori experiences between Auckland and Northland.
“Clients can immerse themselves in quality, bespoke Maori cultural experiences, where we showcase culturally significant locations and attractions between Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) at the top of New Zealand’s North Island. These unique experiences are further enhanced by a seasonal theme and storyline. Our aim is to engage and excite our visitors using all their senses, but it is the unique sixth sense we have as Maori that is the real point of difference. The focus then goes on the regional and seasonal feel that we believe will gain global appeal,” Ceillhe says.