Rotorua helps National Geographic discover manaakitanga

Rotorua helps National Geographic discover manaakitanga


A team from National Geographic has visited Rotorua to find out what makes it such a welcoming destination.

In the first global tourism campaign of its kind for New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand has partnered with National Geographic to help them and their audience discover our unique Kiwi culture through expressions of manaakitanga. A number of Rotorua locals have played an important role in that journey.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair, Te Taru White (pictured being filmed above) features in the campaign as he helps explain the meaning of manaakitanga to the National Geographic crew. He told them how much manaakitanga is linked to Rotorua’s identity.

“The world has been coming to Rotorua for over 150 years so we’ve been sharing this place and making people feel at home here for a very long time.”

He explained that manaakitanga is a spiritual encounter. “For the time that we’re together, I’m connecting you to my people, my place and my culture, and I’m sharing my past, present and future with you.

“Key to understanding manaakitanga is the word ‘mana’ as it’s an exchange of respect. If you can honour a visitor and make them feel connected to this place, one day you may be honoured in their home too.”

The National Geographic team also spent time with Kirimatao West and James Rickard from Te Puia.

Executive of Rotorua Economic Development Michelle Templer Chief said: “It’s been exciting to work with National Geographic and Tourism New Zealand on this project to share some of Rotorua’s personal stories of manaakitanga with millions of potential visitors from USA, UK, Australia and Germany. These are all important tourism markets for us so it’s great to have this strategic partnership showcasing Rotorua in such a significant campaign.

“We know that Rotorua is rich with examples of people who embody the spirit of manaakitanga by sharing their life experiences and connecting visitors to the stories of this land. The local people who met the National Geographic explorers have been extremely generous with their time and I’m really looking forward to seeing their stories brought to life through National Geographic’s work.“

To create the campaign content, three National Geographic explorers travelled to Kaikoura, Nelson-Tasman, Rotorua, and Whakatāne to collate their own video, images and stories to share what makes New Zealand so unique. Their spring visit will highlight the uniqueness of New Zealand’s regions and our warm Kiwi culture to a global audience of 330 million people. Visit the National Geographic website to find out more.