NZ Māori Tourism hosted the World Indigenous Tourism Summit in Waitangi, Northland in April 2018, in association with WINTA.
Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitu te whenua.
As people disappear from sight, the land remains.
This Māori proverb provided an apt theme for the World Indigenous Tourism Summit 2018 and one that resonated with all Indigenous peoples.
For Indigenous peoples, whenua (land) sustains life and provides a tangible link with ancestors, with past events; and provides their turangawaewae (place to stand) and their identity. As kaitiaki (guardians) the maintenance of the spiritual and physical well-being of land and waters is the legacy that Indigenous peoples are charged with preserving and protecting for future generations.
The profound effects of global climate change on the environment and the strong demand for international tourism across world regions highlight the importance for Indigenous voices to be heard in the forward development of tourism. The current reality is that tourism presents Indigenous peoples with a dichotomy in that it currently impacts both adversely and beneficially on Indigenous peoples and their ancestral landscapes.
The 2018 Summit provided a forum for Indigenous peoples to discuss tourism, to share collective Indigenous wisdom, knowledge and traditions handed down through generations. The Indigenous voice and presence can guide the tourism industry in a manner that supports mutual respect and new relationships as guardians of our precious lands and waters.
This Summit introduced a prestigious line up of speakers to provide unique insights into how they have integrated traditional knowledge into compelling experiences for visitors. Speakers introduced opportunities Indigenous communities have taken to build and grow tourism, and the challenges ahead for Indigenous guardians of ancestral landscapes.
The Summit included:
- a pōwhiri at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, followed by a hangi dinner at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands,
- inspirational speeches,
- an outdoor movie night,
- thought-provoking workshops,
- a gala dinner with entertainment by Bella Kalolo,
- insightful panel discussions,
- local famils,
- morning exercise sessions;
- and a Research Symposium held in Hopuhopu, Waikato.
To read and see everything that happened at the Summit, view the Summit blog here.