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Māori Culture & Tourism – special week-long workshops for your students


Piritahi Marae – Waiheke Island

If your students are serious about building a career in New Zealand tourism, it’s important that they become culturally sound in respect of their own environment and gain a good appreciation of the values of Māori culture. 

Māori tourism is vitally important to New Zealand’s booming tourism industry, and for millions of our visitors an authentic cultural experience is one of our greatest attractions.

Huhana Davis is facilitator, tutor and assessor for ServiceIQ’s newest Gateway Cultural Camp held at at Piritahi Marae on Waiheke Island. Huhana has lived on Waiheke – Te Motu O Arairoa – for over 30 years.

Her whakapapa is of Ngati Whanaunga, Hauraki and Ngati Maniapoto, Waitomo, where members of her family and ServiceIQ have held cultural camps for several years.

Cultural Camps Marae

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In October last year, Huhana was responsible for organising the first one on Waiheke. Due its huge success, she will lead two more week-long ServiceIQ workshops for students at Piritahi Marae in 2017. These will be held the first week after Easter – April 18th - 22nd; and in the first week of the third school holidays – October 2nd - 6th.

Huhana says it’s important that people working in cultural tourism know the history of their region, including the Māori ancestral names, Waka of their regions and the meanings of the names of their mountains, rivers and seas. 

“They need to be able to pronounce Māori names correctly and know the basics of Te Reo Māori greetings and farewells,” says Huhana.  

“They also need to be comfortable with Marae protocols. They need to uphold the principles of Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga – nurturing fellow mankind and preserving, protecting all natural resources - and see to it that all tourists maintain the respect for our lands, waterways, sacred places and Iwi protocols.”

The ServiceIQ Gateway Cultural Camps give Year 13 students the rare opportunity to gain first-hand experience, practical skills and knowledge of Māori culture and language while staying on Waiheke Island’s beautiful Piritahi Marae.

Over the week, students complete are assessed on their work according to a range of unit standards. Successful students gain 20 NCEA credits in Māori Tourism Level 3.    

Huhana, who is also head of hospitality at Waiheke High School and spokesperson for Pirihati Marae, gives students the benefit of her extensive knowledge in Māori culture, language, arts, crafts and tourism, through to sharing culinary delights.  

Under her expert guidance, the Waiheke programme is an extremely informative and exciting adventure.

It includes an island tour, visiting sacred ancestral sites, sharing local history, touring the famous island’s renowned Māori Arts studios, playing Māori musical instruments, creating a Koauau to take home, bush walking, weaving, interactive performing arts and experiencing the Zipline tourism attraction.

Just as fascinating, students can also find out about the native flora and fauna and discover how to collect and cook Kai Māori, puha and Kai Moana for Kai Hakari (special celebrations).

It’s a great opportunity to learn how to create authentic Māori dishes, says Huhana: from how to cook a delicious boil up, making fried bread and a steam pudding, through to what it takes to put down a successful hangi for the kai hakari – a final feast enjoyed together with guests.


Theory is critical to success. Study classes are held each day where the registered Kaiako Māori (instructors) guides students through a range of interactive learning workshops that cover the unit standards.

Activities at the Marae and around the island help students gain the knowledge they need to be able to complete the workbooks, pass the assessments, and gain NCEA credits.

All assessments are signed-off on completion by the Kaiako in line with NZQA requirements and monitored by ServiceIQ Advisors.  

The camp welcomes non-Māori and Māori students passionate about developing a career in cultural tourism.

Huhana strongly recommends teachers make sure their students swot up on their local region and family, before they arrive at the Marae. Being prepared with this information will help them complete the NCEA workbooks at camp and get the most out of the experience.

In particular, she says students should know about the names and meanings of their local Maunga (mountain), Moana (sea) or Awa (river), their local Marae, and any of their ancestral stories that help to enhance their Turangawaewae (their own cultural standing of where they come from).

Among the many virtues of the programme is the great opportunity to meet and learn alongside other students with common interests and career ambitions, says Huhana. 

“Students gain life-time friendships with students coming from across Aotearoa, from the far north to the deep south, staying together on the Marae for a week, working together as one. They share in great experiences of our beautiful Waiheke Island and its people, walking the talk together of Tikanga Māori, reaffirming each other’s identity and pride in their sense of belonging through this shared sacred learning environment of Aotearoa.”

Enrolments are now open for the 2017 ServiceIQ Gateway Cultural Camps on Waiheke Island.

Please contact ServiceIQ’s Schools Coordinator at or talk with your ServiceIQ Schools Advisor.