Māori tourism operators Lee-Ann and Todd Jago run waka tours off the golden sandy beaches of Kaiteriteri. The couple reflect back on their past season, and what lays ahead.
We are into our 4th summer with Waka Abel Tasman, where we run double hull waka tours from the stunning Kaiteriteri beach. We have loved every moment of the journey so far.
Taking all walks of life, ages and abilities out onto the water really makes us happy. No one is left behind.
This summer has been popular with Kiwi and international families. We’ve even had three generations on board! The koro and kuia take the seat at the back of the waka, enjoying the moment, while the children and grandchildren paddle their tīpuna around. It’s so beautiful to see.
Whānau of three generations from Ōtautahi. CREDIT: Waka Abel Tasman.
Tour companies like Hiking NZ and Haka Tours have been very supportive and come out regularly with us. We’ve also had a new travel agent on board, Good Travel, who works with the kaupapa of creating good travellers.
We’re working with a group of rangatahi to help them save up for the Waka Ama Long Distance Nationals this year. We donate some pūtea from our tours, and they contribute a couple of hours of labour, such cleaning up the beach.
On Waitangi Day, we are helping our mate Jezza Williams on a film shoot. Jezza had a life-changing canyoning accident in Switzerland while working there. The accident left him a tetraplegic. Despite this, Jezza is adamant that nothing will stop him! Jezza he has formed the inclusive tourism movement in NZ and abroad with his company Makingtrax.
Split Apple Rock. CREDIT: Waka Abel Tasman.
Waka Abel Tasman is one of his approved companies for people with disabilities to come on tour with.
One of the beautiful aspects of waka a is how it brings people together from all walks of life. That’s why we love it so much.
Being in a waka means everyone must work as a team, think as one, and it creates a real connectedness. Everyone has a shared experience with lots of laughs and cultural understanding.
Kaiteriteri. CREDIT: Waka Abel Tasman.
It is so warming to have so many international and local guests so keen to learn and understand more about our Māori culture.
For more about Todd and Lee-Anne’s story, click on this link: