"A tour company is teaming up with iwi to offer up to 10,000 beds at marae during the Rugby World Cup.
Tourists will be charged between $80 and $200 per night for meals, transport to and from games, and lessons on Maori culture."I am all for marae creating innovative funding opportunities, and if it can be done via cultural tourism - even better. But something is nagging in me that if these people are coming for the rugby - are they really interested in maori culture? And if they aren't - is the marae just then a hotel with some carvings? Each marae will have to decide that case, and I have faith in the choices that will be made.
"A New Zealand Experience product manager David Tanenui said some marae will offer a "five-star" option while others will be communal backpacker-style lodgings. Some marae stood to earn $100,000 from the plan, but their main motivation was to offer overseas guests some Maori hospitality."I hope that that remains the kaupapa. I really respect the views of Ngarimu Blair.
"Ngarimu Blair, a trustee of Ngati Whatua o Orakei in Auckland, confirmed they had been approached about hosting visitors during the tournament.
He said: "If we did, we would only offer it to high-end market and families. I couldn't see us opening our marae to the Barmy Army to come and spew all over our sacred carvings.
"We would only consider it by going the whole hog, with the powhiri and meals, sharing our histories and sharing each other's company."Now we are talking about a whole experience. Perhaps that is the way to go, create a total immersion package for the visitors, really build the connections and context and leave people with a life-changing experience. This is a different way than the "I'm going to the rugby and need a place to stay" mentality that many visitors will have.
For a couple of different right-wing views on this matter go to roarprawn and cactus kate.