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Cultural Tourism and the "Shakespeares of the South..."

What is authentic cultural tourism? If you answered “haka, hongi and hāngi” you’d be correct, but cultural tourism is soooooo much more. Cultural tourism is jet-skiing Tauranga Moana listening to how Mauao came to his finally resting place, cultural tourism is a gentle guided stroll of the grounds at Waitangi hearing how the modern Aotearoa New Zealand came to be, cultural tourism is hunting and fly-fishing the Ahimanawa block, and cultural tourism is getting 80% of your senses stimulated at the Mānea Footprints of Kupe 4D experience in Opononi.

Have you ever had an authentic cultural tourism experience? If you haven’t you should, as most of these experiences will provide you with stories of tragedy, love & romance, war, kinship, betrayal, and so much more. You could almost consider these stories the Shakespeares of the South, such is their depth and connection to that particular rohe (region).

To be truthful though, Shakespeare was one hell of a play-right, and his stories have been shared extensively throughout the world since his demise in 1616. However, it’s the storytellers that actually bring these stories to life, and cultural tourism is crammed full of gifted narrators that engage, enchant and entertain.

The kōrero (stories) in Aotearoa are magical; you can hear them on a marae (hapū gathering place), a maunga (mountain), beside a moana (ocean), and even at “the local” (pub). It doesn’t matter where you travel on these great islands, there will always be a raconteur ready to construct an oral canvas, delight your ears and touch your heart.

You can expect to laugh and / or cry too, their kōrero will challenge your mind, whilst connecting with your heart, and you will likely require tissues. Yes. These artisans are gifted in the art of propaganda; they’ll poke you in the chest delicately, and win you over with an entertaining perspective of “the facts”.

It won’t matter whether you’re walking with giants at night with Merepaia in the Hokianga (, or paddling with Hone in Waitangi (, traipsing the Papamoa Hills with Les (, cultural e-biking with Paula in her Pirirakau patch (, waka paddling with Lee-Anne in the Abel Tasman (, on a mural hīkoi with Les in Kirikiriroa (, walking and talking in the ngahere (bush) with Hinewai (, or touring Taranaki with Tom (, you will be guaranteed a thoroughly memorable experience that will last you a lifetime... or until come back for more.

Who’d have thought it was possible here in Aotearoa New Zealand eh? This whānau of storytellers are looking forward to meeting you; sharing their time, their kōrero, their whenua (land), and their whakapapa (ancestry).

Safe travels Whānau (family)!

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