Māori enterprise 'Staynative' helps whānau become hosts to tourists

Source: 1News

A Māori enterprise is assisting whānau to become hosts to tourists who are looking for an authentic Māori experience. 

TVNZ1's Te Karere visited a whānau in the remote Northland settlement of Whangaruru who are using their intrinsic manaakitanga skills to provide exactly that. 

Staynative is a business that harnesses innovation and promotes social enterprise among Māori families.

"We've got talented people, we've got the whenua but we ain't got a lot of job opportunities.  So I kind of thought, wow, here's an opportunity for small businesses. And I guess overnight the idea of Staynative was created," said Pam Armstrong of Staynative. 

Staynative connects tourists to Māori families and is for tourists who are looking for an authentic Māori experience.

"Also it's an opportunity for kind of telling our stories about the environment, taking care of our environment, so kaitiakitanga. And I guess the other one is about we should be telling our own narratives," Ms Armstrong said.

The kitchen of the Leuluai family is a small hospitality business. The aim is for tourists to experience Māori cuisine.

"Well, you know everyone I have brought here have loved it," Marlene Leuluai, kai manaaki, said. 

"You know, they've loved our people, my people, the music, the food. And it's just different. It's different to going to backpackers or something like that. They see the real people."

The initiative employs the principles of guardianship and hospitality. 

The main selling point for the business is the beauty of the lands and seas.

Ms Armstrong said it's an opportunity for the whole whānau to do what they already do well, but create a business out of it.

"So, they love the diving, the singing, the fishing, the eating, all of those things. And they're right on the moana. So they just get to do what they love doing anyway." 

Staynative are running information presentations to all communities to promote the business to Māori families. 

Ms Armstrong says the aim is to sign up 100 small businesses in a year.