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Nau mai, Haere mai, Whakatau mai – Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

Te Haerenga, ‘A journey through Sacred Islands’, is the culmination of the unbroken occupation that the tribe Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki has enjoyed in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland New Zealand, well before the arrival of the first ‘Waka Fleet’ from Hawaiiki some 600 years ago.

It is inherent in the DNA of Ngāi Tai to prepare to welcome and host visitors from all over the world on the iconic Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands through our historical and cultural presence.

Te Haerenga is the exchange and experience that serves to introduce the visitor to the basic rituals, customs and traditions of ‘te Reo me ona Tikanga Maori o Ngāi Tai’ or ‘the language and customs of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki’.

The birth of Te Haerenga

On Wednesday the 5th of November, 2014, the Minister of Conservation, the Honourable Maggie Barry, officially announced the arrival and birth of ‘Te Haerenga’ at the Cloud Convention Centre, on Auckland’s waterfront, as part of the National Department of Conservations launch of Conservation Week.

On Friday the 14th of November 2014, Te Haerenga were extremely honoured to host our first formal public visitors, the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. They were greeted with a traditional welcome by members of the Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki tribe as they arrived on Motutapu Island. As the guest of honour, Angela Merkel was chosen to release a Spotted Brown Kiwi named Whauwhau. This was the 19th wildlife relocation of its type on the island.

Our Values and Principles

Te Haerenga have 5 pillars, which guide the way we interact with each other, our guests and nature.

Manaakitanga (Hosting of guests) – Cultural duty of showing hospitality, kindness, generosity, support, respect and care while hosting all visitors.

Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship) – Te Haerenga provides an informative, interactive and cultural experience with only the use of the natural environment so that the visitor feels enriched, educated and connected to the natural world. The ultimate aim is to inspire a sense and understanding of the cultural responsibilities of ‘Rāhui’, (protecting and enhancing the environment), the conservation of ‘wāhi tapu’, (sacred places) while enjoying the natural beauty of native flora, fauna, wildlife and other taonga (treasures).

Whanaungatanga (Kinship) – Our cultural introduction and experience enables the host and visitor a moment to exchange and share experiences that will ensure the principles and values of family are at the forefront.

Te Reo me ona Tikanga (Ngāi Tai language and customs) – Te Haerenga provides an opportunity to introduce and encourage te Reo me ona Tikanga Maori, language, rituals, customs, traditions and history.

Pumau ki te Mana Motuhake anake (Autonomy, Self-determination) – To ensure the Mana and presence of the Iwi is known, acknowledged and respected through encouraging all visitors to enter into the realm of Mana Whenua, Mana Moana, the tribal domain of Iwi determination and Iwi commitment to the taonga, each other and all visitors.

The Benefits for Our People

Te Haerenga is not only about educating visitors around our conservation values, customs and history but also an opportunity to advance and empower our own people through education, tertiary study, employment and the use of our unique language and customs.

Te Haerenga is a vehicle for internal Iwi development and capacity growth that ensures all staff are encouraged to progress through the internal structures of the business. This will then translate into a highly skilled workforce where these same skills can be put to good use both within the company and the wider community.

For Ngāi Tai, education and employment are the key to achieving self-determination as a people.