The site is prepped, building is well underway, and connections are being forged in time for the opening of Opononi’s new Manea Footprints of Kupe.
The multi-million-dollar visitor attraction, located on 5 acres in the Hokianga, is set to open its doors to tourists late October.
The cultural, heritage, education and tourism centre tells the story of Polynesian explorer Kupe, who discovered Aotearoa more than 1000 years ago and his unique connection to Hokianga.
For an hour and 15 minutes, visitors will be whisked into the world of Kupe with a guided walkway tour introducing Māori cosmology led by the descendants of Kupe.
Manuhiri will learn protocols and engage with stories, waiata (song) and karakia (prayers) before a formal pōwhiri welcomes visitors to the space and inside the whare taonga.
A 4D theatre performance and movie brings to life Kupe’s epic journey to Aotearoa, his departure to the homeland and the dramatic return voyages of his descendants, the Manea Footprints of Kupe website reads.
With everything in place for the grand opening, the Te Hua o te Kawariki Trust (which represents the people of four neighbouring local marae) and the operating Company, Manea Footprints of Kupe are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the experience is on the trade partner radar and with local and international visitors.
A Manea Footprints of Kupe representative travelled to Australia late last year as part of a Northland Inc Trade Mission where he explained that the concept was very well received.
To help promote the centre in Northland, Manea Footprints of Kupe has worked with Māori tourism operators Footprints Waipoua and Awesome Adventures Hokianga to open a pop-up office space down on the very popular Opononi beach. This has also been an excellent platform to conduct local engagement including sharing news of the sites progress and opportunities going forward.
To support the visitor experience, Manea Footprints will soon be launching a 16-week training programme in conjunction with Te Kotahitanga E Mahi Kaha Trust which has been specifically designed to identify and prepare interested local parties for potential roles.
Te Kotahitanga E Mahi Kaha Trust assists rangatahi to prepare for the workforce.
Check out the Manea Footprints of Kupe for more information.