Social adventure group teaches all-round respect - #TiakiChampions

Got To Get Out is a domestic-tourism focused social enterprise adventure group involved in a number of projects that 'get Kiwis experiencing their back yard'. 

When they sell tickets to their paid-for trips, which include hiking, biking, overnight weekends and ski trips, they also gift tickets to youth in need. 

"A big part of what we do with both our free and paid trips at Got To Get Out is to encourage attendees to have respect for self, respect for others and respect for the whenua," says Founder Robert Bruce. 

"The way in which we tangibly do this is by talking at length to guests about concepts of kaitiakitanga, which of course is to be 'guardians' of the whenua (land).

"We encourage both adults and youth on our trips to 'leave only footprints' and to pack everything out with them they pack in, including biodegradable foods. We give lots of information about why we must leave no trace, even apple cores!This is to keep an area looking pristine, not to feed potentially harmful foods to nature animals, and not to feed pests such as possums."

Robert says the team further encourages guests to show respect to the whenua by staying on the trails so that they don't crush delicate seedlings, insects or nests. Guests are asked to be careful with what they touch in regards to trees, leaves, roots, and of course to follow any kauri dieback rules, such as cleaning boots and gear before entering or leaving kauri forests.

"In terms of showing respect for others and self, our guides often talk about manaakitanga before, during or after trips," says Robert. "We ensure that both our attendees and guides are always using mana-enhancing language, korero, that we are supporting one another and caring for each other to make it through the journey together."

Robert says caring for one another fits the whole kaupapa of Got To Get Out, which aims to enhance the mental and physical health of attendees.

"One way we demonstrate showing 'respect for others' is by hosting a 'circle of aroha' at the end of any hike or trip. Guests are invited to share what they learned, felt or got out of our trip, and then 'send some aroha' to someone else in the group. This is a really nice way to end a trip on a high, to lock in learnings, and to be more mindful than just 'going there and back'. We believe this circle of aroha is unique to Got To Get Out."

Lastly, Got To Get Out shows respect to the tangata whenua, local iwi and Māori language by ensuring they correctly pronounce place names and tree names, and by sharing knowledge about cultural history of any place they visit. "For example, we find guests are loosely aware of 'tea tree' so our staff instead talk about Manuka or Kanuka. Guests might know about 'flax' or 'cabbage tree' but we educate and talk about Harekeke or Ti Kauka." 

"We encourage careful and respectful interaction with nature, at times 'hugging' or hongi of trees to feel the life force, mauri of that living tree. These are very special moments that we incorporate into our domestic tourism activities."

"It's important to us that guests leave a Got To Get Out experience having learned something, and gaining a new appreciation of beautiful Māori culture and language."

Find out more about Got To Get Out