Critical Hospitality Symposium, Critical Hospitality Symposium II: Hospitality IS Society

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Manaakitanga = Hospitality – Yeah Nah!
Keri-Anne Wikitera

Last modified: 2018-07-02


Reflecting a change in the value placed on the Māori language and culture in mainstream New Zealand since the beginnings of the Māori renaissance of the late 1970’s, Māori terms are now common vernacular in areas such as government strategy, educational institutions, environmental agencies and business promotions. The term ‘manaakitanga’, for example, was a key principle that underpinned the Tourism New Zealand Strategic Plan 2015 (Tourism New Zealand, 2007) and continues to be presented as a value that distinguishes New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality to the rest of the world. Manaakitanga is now often simply translated as hospitality and used interchangeably within many different non-Māori contexts. It is a central value to Māori in that it engenders reciprocal relationships of obligation, generosity and care. It is a means by which we honour visitors, uplifting the mana or prestige of individuals with the expectation that this will be reciprocated in some form. It is a fundamental element in all our traditions, customs and rituals and often is not measured in immediate recompense but could take generations to reciprocate thus developing deep and meaningful continued relationships, often over many generations. The implications therefore for making mistakes in these exchanges can have dire consequences. Drawing upon my own experiences as a Māori woman I present here the use of manaakitanga as a point of social analysis.  Critically reflecting on the socio-cultural exchanges in three different contexts – academic research and teaching; the tourism and hospitality industry; and the marae (Māori tribal meeting place) - I highlight the complexities of bringing indigenous cultural values into non-indigenous spaces. Through a Māori ontological view and conceptualising manaakitanga as an indigenous hospitality paradigm I endorse the theme of the symposium, ‘hospitality is society’.

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