Haka Tours scholarship encourages tourism careers for Maori

Haka Tours are ensuring sustainable employment for New Zealand’s tangata whenua with the announcement of their Maori Tour Manager scholarship, providing career opportunities in tourism.

The scholarship is open to New Zealand citizens of Maori descent, and provides up to $5,000 of training, as well as transport, meaning applicants can be based anywhere in New Zealand.

Haka Tourism Group founder Ryan Sanders explains that the scholarship was designed to ensure that Maori have a front-line role in promoting their country and culture.

“There’s an under-representation of Maori tour managers in New Zealand and that’s something Haka Tours would like to remedy. As the tangata whenua of New Zealand, our Maori culture adds a rich dimension to our visitors’ experience,” Ryan says.

“While we have stunning landscapes and jaw-dropping scenery here in Aotearoa, it can’t compete with our culture, and visitors are always looking for a deeper, more authentic tourism experience.”

At Haka Tours, the majority of the tours are not culturally-specific tours, but cultural education forms a core component of their customers’ experience regardless of the tour they are on.

“Whether it is learning to paddle a waka, carve a tiki from greenstone, hear the stories, legends, and myths that have shaped our country or taste a hangi, we ensure our customers have walked away with a much deeper understanding of who we are,” says Ryan.

The move to support the Maori community through the Haka Tours scholarship aligns with the Tourism Sustainability Commitment Host Community goals of Sustainable and Quality Employment, and Community Engagement. The concept of manaakitanga (hospitality) is very important to Ryan.

“The communities that we visit and operate in give us so much, and we’re continuously looking for ways to give back.”

Environmental awareness is also a big part of the Haka Tours business ethos and Ryan takes their role as ambassadors to New Zealand very seriously, which is why they were one of the first businesses to sign up to the Tourism Sustainability Commitment.

“We’re passionate about ensuring our clean lakes, rivers, beaches, air and land are restored and passed on to our next generation,” Ryan explains.

Haka Tourism Group was created by Ryan after finding himself struggling with a lack of autonomy in a traditional workplace, so he values the independence and freedom that comes with tour guide roles. It means he’s looking for confident, independent and organised applicants with a sense of adventure.

“Most of our Tour Managers are between the ages of 25 and 45 but we are open to any applicant over 18 years of age, who has a passion for New Zealand, a strong customer service ethos and bounds of energy!”

The Maori Tour Manager Scholarship is ongoing and open to applicants year-round, and Ryan says there have been some great applications so far. He’s looking forward to the next in-take for August 2018.

“Our tour managers are both driver and guide, managing every aspect of life on the road for our international travellers from all corners of the globe,” explains Ryan.

“We love what we do, and we’re passionate about delivering the best tours in New Zealand.”

You can find out more about the Maori Tour Manager scholarship here.