The Maori Chief and the Internet: Working in Tourism


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Disclosure & Image Rights:  Image material was created with a camera provided free of charge by our sponsor Olympus, which we checked as part of the test until it was unusable. The Dutch tourism company TravelEssence took over our costs for flights, domestic flights and food for a research trip to New Zealand.  Image location: State Highway 1, Okaihau 0475, New Zealand.

Hone Mihaka is a Maori chieftain and runs tourism with his tribe Ngapuhi.Company Taimaitours. When Hone started tourism, he did not even know what a computer is. Today he runs his own website, blogs and is on Facebook.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Internet - curse or blessing?

The Internet has improved his life a lot, he says: “Customers can now book me directly and even find me from abroad!” But he has already learned about the disadvantages of modern communication: “You can also spend a lot of time on it.”

How to prove the morning after waking up first the phone calls go: Hone has received a booking, must clarify inquiries, eMails answer. His wife Judy also uses the phone, sometimes with two cell phoneszeitig.

Very normal business people

There is no place for social romance, the two Maori are two ordinary business people who answer customer inquiries on several channels. The region in which they live has also changed a lot over the past 10 years: “There weren't even roads here before,” Judy tells me.

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The canoe tours feed the whole family. Hone has two adult daughters and five grandchildren. The tribe, which consists of 3.000 people and meets three times a year, is the only one to offer canoeing.

From canoeist to golfer?

Hone, meanwhile, wants to expand the canoe business: His wish is that the company is still growing and about 80 to 100 gives people of his tribe work.

Then he wants to leave the business to the younger people and devote himself to new plans - for example, he would like to offer golfing and to teach golfers something about the culture of the Maori. I am astonished to note that Hone is passionate golf player.

business

Even seen nothing from the world

Hone, however, already thinks of retirement. In four years, when he and his wife are 54, he wants to stop working and travel around the world with a camper or a backpacker. And take his family with him. Only his wife Judy is not quite happy with the idea.

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In other countries Hone has hardly been so far: From his Dutch travel agency Travelessence, he is invited once a year to Europe to present his home country at the Vakantiebeurs Trade Fair in Utrecht - quite classic in Baströckchen. Then, as he says, he flies business class because he is not used to flying. Apart from these trips, Hone has never been outside New Zealand.

Be part of a culture or live the culture?

Nevertheless, Hone also studied their culture while working with tourists from other countries - and formed his own opinion about it: many whites, Hone observed, want to be able to choose whether they want to be part of a culture or not.

For Hone it is absurd: “I don't choose my culture and I'm not just part of it, I AM my culture. You have no choice. ”For the Maori, this is not just a theoretical question, it also makes a big difference in practice:“ I am not just part of this earth, but rather I am the earth, it inevitably belongs to me. If I'm just part of something, I can break it. ”

With tourism, the culture betray?

“Educated people often see culture as distant and don't want to be part of it.” says Hone. "What a crap. You don't need education to know where you belong. Father Heaven, Mother Earth, Wind are the siblings. All the expensive certificates are of no use to people who spend a lot of money. ”

Nevertheless, Hone does not make a bad profit from these educated whites: A group of tourists lived with his tribe for a week to share the experience and paid $ 2400 for it. “But just because he works in tourism,” says Hone, “doesn't mean that I betray my traditions. I let people into my life for some time and they respect my customs. I want people to understand because they hear something they don't know.

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Maori: Back to the roots

Why does he think people are so interested in Maori culture? “Many people, Hone says, have forgotten their roots. The Maori have preserved something that others have lost. We always have to know where we come from to know where we are going. The key to the future is in the past. And that's exactly what people are looking for. ”

Tangata Phenua, People of the land, so the Maori call themselves. Phena means country in the Maori language. Maori is an English word and the embodiment of the various tribes. That would be something like this, says Hone, as if you call all the white Europeans.


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Maori: Progress in tolerance

In a globalized world, tolerance is important, Hone says - and precisely in this area, the Maori are extremely progressive because they have dealt extensively with cultural identity and loss of identity. Maori are very modern.

Maori appreciate their cultural values ​​and principles, which makes them open and able to understand other people as the world gradually changes into a multicultural society. “If we teach our children that, we will break down barriers!”

What if the tourists stay away?

What happens if one day the tourists stay away? Hone is not worried. "I'm fine - unlike others."

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