The use of te reo in the New Zealand tourism industry has increased and international visitors have had a mostly positive response to this. Air New Zealand has been recognised as a particularly good leader in the greater use of Māori. As a statement about the significance of Māori language and culture, the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand changed its name to Tourism Industry Aotearoa around two years ago. Adopted as guiding principles, the words manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga have been used more widely within the industry.
“We don’t have words in English that are as good as these two words in terms of describing the tourism industry which is all about manaakitanga – showing great hospitality and generosity to our visitors – and maintaining kaitiakitanga – guarding and protecting our natural and cultural resources,” said Chris Roberts, chief executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
Some challenges surrounding the reception of Māori language amongst tourists have included some visitors not understanding the significance of its usage in a particular context; “if there’s a powhiri and someone is peaking Māori – doing something we’re becoming quite accustomed to – they see it as ‘why aren’t they speaking English?’ In those cases we need to explain to visitors what’s happening and why it’s culturally appropriate.”
“Have your staff use a little bit of the language and getting to the point where it’s natural, not forced or put on. It’s not hard to say ‘mōrena’ rather than ‘good morning’.”