Well, there's actually quite a lot to this one as I rediscovered when I explained it to one of the team. Like many Maori words, it works on several different levels.
The most obvious level is a place name. Ahipara. A lovely little town at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach way way up in remote Northland. This unspoilt place with its excellent beach, dunes, surf break, weather and its feet firmly in the Maori world symbolises nicely our approach to tourism. Off the beaten track, authentic, rewarding.
Then there is the history of the place. In the days when fire was gathered from lightning strikes and preserved and nurtured as a constant flame, feeding others over years, decades. This can be linked to the next level of meaning - the Bay (para) of the fire (ahi).
Another level, explained to me by a talented healer from the marae - ahi was the campfire and para are the juices left behind after a feast has been cooked. So, a place of sustenance, sharing and abundance.
My favourite meaning though is the deepest. Ahi is a part of the word ahika, the spark of life, the fire eternal which is alight in each one of us, that part of us which never dies. And Para is the sanctuary where this fire is kept safe.
We aim very high with how we handle our guests, and have been dedicated enough to afford a number of them some interaction with New Zealand at this profound level. For us, our company is much much more than a way to earn money. It is a way to sustain that which we believe in. And to help the spark burn brightly in our communities and with our clients. Special times created by our people together with our partners for our clients. He tangata he tangata he tangata. (from the old Maori proverb - what are the three most important things in life? The people, the people, the people.)
As always we acknowledge with respect and thanks Roma Marae up in Ahipara who many years ago took a risk and gave us permission to cloak ourselves with this beautiful name.