A number of marae across the country will receive Qualmark certification to offer visitors a taste of genuine Maori hospitality…
Hotels, motels, hostels, campervans, tents and baches are some of the places Rugby fans will be staying during Rugby World Cup 2011, but now another option can be added to the list. Qualmark, who are responsible for rating New Zealand accommodation and ensuring high standards across the industry, have just announced a new ‘Marae Stay Experience’ grading.
This means that overseas visitors and New Zealanders can get a taste of genuine Maori hospitality (manaakitanga) with an overnight stay at a marae, giving them a unique experience that goes beyond a show and meal.
‘Marae’ is the name given to a traditional Maori community area, usually with an ancestral house as the central meeting venue. When you arrive at the marae you’ll be treated as a friend, starting by being welcomed on to the marae with karanga (welcoming calls) and waiata (song). In the evening there will usually be a kapa haka performance and of course everyone will come together to share a hākari (feast) before guests spend the night in the wharenui (meeting house).
The ‘Marae Stay Experience’ grading is a collaboration between Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Maori Development) and Qualmark. To earn the prestigious new rating, a marae must undergo a comprehensive, independent on-site assessment, ensuring it has met all the customary protocols, as well as extensive service, safety, food and facilities criteria. This means that guests get a genuine marae experience with knowledgeable hosts, as well as a comfortable relaxed stay - but don’t expect all the comforts of a hotel.
Te Māhurehure Marae, in Auckland, is the first marae in New Zealand to meet the strict criteria for Qualmark’s ‘Marae Stay Experience’.
Marae spokesperson, Christine Panapa says “This is a fantastic opportunity for the marae and will help us achieve our goal of offering commercial accommodation for Rugby World Cup 2011 and beyond. We are proud to be the first to meet Qualmark’s high standards and create a tourism legacy for other marae to follow.”
Qualmark’s National Manager of Endorsements, Grant Ward, says “Qualmark sees the ‘Marae Stay Experience’ as an opportunity to enhance existing tourism operations, by lifting their profile and offering travellers the assurance that they can book and buy this authentic Maori experience, with confidence.”
While Rugby World Cup 2011 was the catalyst for the grading, it will live on beyond the Tournament, offering something special for guests to the country.