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Kawarau Jet's new Cultural Trip

Alexa Forbes - 14/12/05

A new Maori-focused cultural trip recently launched in Queenstown, New Zealand, has been designed to provide for the increasing demand for interactive cultural experiences.

A tour group and their guide on the tour boat
A tour group and their guide on the tour boat
Kawarau Jet's Cultural Trip opened for business on Thursday, 1 December, offering a unique and fascinating insight into the lives of Maori people, the history of the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers and the Maori connection to the rivers, Lake Wakatipu and the local region.

Guide showing flaxes
Guide showing flaxes
The Cultural Trip is a jetboat journey operating on the same waters as the original Kawarau Jet trip but is hosted and guided in an entirely different way. The entire experience takes approximately two hours (1.5 hours on the water) and explores the river from a Maori and historical perspective as opposed to an adventure perspective.

Guide with kete
Guide with kete (basket)
Departing daily at 10:30am and 1:30pm the trip employs the services of three local Maori who are fluent in Te Reo* and fully trained as guides for this stretch of lake and river.

Guide with a taiaha
Guide with a taiaha (long club - a two-handed thrusting weapon)
In the research phase of developing the product, Kawarau Jet staff met with Huata Holmes, a highly regarded Pou Here Tangata*, Kaitiaki* of the Southern Maori Tikanga* and Kaumatua* and have continued to work with long term Queenstown resident Leah Webster who serves as Huata Holmes' local representative.

Kawarau Jet co-director Andrew Brinsley said that having decided to produce a cultural tourism product, the company took the project extremely seriously and went through a full consultation and research process.

"We felt we needed to undertake genuine research to provide a quality tourism product that had its roots firmly planted in accurate historical and cultural information. It turned out to be a marathon two year project that provided not only a fantastic product but also an exciting learning experience for all involved. We were amazed by the depth of Huata Holmes?knowledge and I think we all found the bringing together of our cultures to develop this trip a profound educational experience."

Guide with moko
Guide with moko (facial tattoo) holding the taiaha
The Cultural Trip explores the legend of the lake as well as important cultural traditions such as the Powhiri* and Hongi*. Ample time is provided for unstructured commentary and informal question and answer sessions.

"This trip offers the fun of a jetboat trip in stunning surroundings as well as a deeply personal cultural experience that offers insight and learning in a relaxed and informal environment."

Driven by passion since 1960, Kawarau Jet is locally owned and operated and proud of its heritage as the world’s first commercial jetboat operation and as a technology and product innovator.

Te Reo Glossary

Te Reo - Maori language

Pou Here Tangata - support between the people

Kaitiaki - guardian

Tikanga - protocol

Kaumatua - elder

Powhiri - welcome performance

Hongi - traditional greeting

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