Thursday, July 16, 2009

Maori context makes great walks greater

Hollyford valley

Great walks - what an excellent concept.

"The Department of Conservation (Doc) is bracing itself, for heavy demand for Otago's Great Walks, after next season's bookings for the Routeburn, Milford and Kepler tracks opened yesterday."

"There are 11 Great Walks in the country and the season runs from late October to late April."
The new-look Queenstown visitor centre first-floor information hub, on Shotover St, is 95% operational. Stand-alone "pods" displaying area maps of national parks and tracks have been installed and a large-scale backlit map displays Otago-Southland. A trip-planning table has been included and a pair of interpretation panels covering Doc's work in the region have been hung, with four more to come.

Every dollar of profit went into conservation activities.

This week, Dunedin carver Malcolm Murchie, of Kai Tahu Kati Mamoe and Ngati Raukawa, started to carve a piece of West Coast totara, which will form the 1.2m high plinth for a piece of pounamu, which will become the centre's touchstone early next year."

Good that Ngai Tahu are involved. I would say it would improve things even more if some intrepretation of maori history could be given as well. Perhaps another couple of 'interpretation panels'.
When i worked in tourism, the guests didn't want to see little england, they wanted to see this land and they wanted to understand the maori people. Who are they? where did they come from? what did they do? And if you are really on to it, context can be applied to show how the stories from the past are relevant to today. This island is chocka with our history's. Tourists want to hear them.

Of course Ngai Tahu have a tourism business in this area - The Hollyford Track - What do they say about Ngai Tahu and their fortunate position in being owned by tangata whenua:

Under 'history', "The first human arrives, Maori, and a coastal village evolves. The tribe gathers abundant seafood and builds canoes from the giant trees of the forests."

Under 'about us', "NOTHING"

Under 'staff', "NOTHING"

As far as this company is concerned Ngai Tahu don't even exist. Funny when you consider that they are owned by Ngai Tahu, and are giving tours through Ngai Tahu land. And their profit or loss comes back to Ngai Tahu too.
What an embarrasment for them and us.

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