This is a difficult one to write about as it means so many different things to so many different people. So we'll focus just on what we know and have observed with our clients and partners.
In this photo, Singaporean journalist Mavis Teo is having elements of a powhiri (sometimes known as a Maori Welcome) explained to her by John Paki. John Paki is the son of John Paki, the man responsible for leading the struggle which resulted in the return of sacred Mount Titiraupenga to Maori. Mount Titiraupenga is where this powhiri is happening.
Given the cultural and colourful elements happening within a powhiri, this is something many of our clients experience as part of a general New Zealand tour. When we first started doing these back at the turn of the century, we did so because it "felt right" and it was good that our clients were being welcomed properly to this country by tangata whenua (the people of the land). Since that time we've found this belief to be very true on a number of different levels. We never expected so many of our clients to be touched so deeply. We never expected this welcome to actually, obviously and meaningfully tie them in spiritually with this country. Or to smooth the rest of their time here. But looking back at it now it does seem sort of inevitable. And these Maori encounters rate very highly indeed in terms of post-trip satisfaction, with both spiritually minded and non-spiritually minded people.
Some people and places in this country work on several levels, much like a powhiri. On the surface what seems like a very nice experience or lodge also has a parallel story which is there for people interested in such things.
A number of years ago we supported the Admor of Malta with his trip to New Zealand. This focused on sacred places of energy - Tane Mahuta, Mount Cook and the Castle Hills. We introduced him to the Maori guardians of those places and he achieved what he came here to achieve.
There are a number of special people in this country we are closely linked to as well as a number of places we are aware of. If this is something you are interested in, let us know.