April 24, 2013
Grass skirt image needs explaining
New Zealand Māori Tourism Chief Executive Pania Tyson-Nathan says it’s up to Māori to make sure manuhiri aren’t mystified or intimidated by cultural greetings.
Speaking on a Māori tourism panel at this year’s Trenz Tourism Industry Conference in Auckland, she said Danish MP Marie Krarup’s hostile response to a pōwhiri at the navy marae may have been because tangata whenua or officials in charge didn’t explain it properly.
Ms Tyson-Nathan says rather than getting a sense of the underlying cultural values, tourists are left with the impression of Māori in grass skirts and grass huts waving spears and poking their tongues out.
She says Māori culture and tourism attractions are important, not only to New Zealand's tourism industry, but also to the New Zealand economy, the culture, social and psychological fabric of the country.
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