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Situated in the South Pacific a few thousand miles from anywhere, New Zealand has a surprisingly diverse culture with ethnicities from all over the world. Predominantly steeped in its native Maori culture, ‘Manaakitanga’ is just one way of describing it, and the journey begins with your first footprints…

“Manaakitanga is a feeling, an invitation, and a responsibility. It implies guardianship – of the land (whenua), treasures (taaonga), visitors (manuhiri), and people (tangata). When Manuhuri (visitors) tread their first footprint upon new land, manaakitanga begins. The invitation is issued. A responsibility is placed upon the Tangata Whenua (people of the land). Manaakitanga seeks common ground upon which an affinity and sense of sharing and respect can grow. It is a deep-rooted concept in Maori culture. Together, Te Arawa Maori and European were among the first to host visitors to New Zealand. Over the years this has developed into an unmistakable and unique kinship between the two cultures, a spirit of respect and unity which is embodied in Manaakitanga.”

Considered to be the 'founding document' of modern New Zealand, the relationship between Maori and British began in Waitangi, Bay of Islands on February 6th, 1840 with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (Tiriti o Waitangi). The Treaty established a British Govenor of New Zealand, ensured Maori were given the rights of British subjects and recognised the Maori ownership of their lands and other property. Despite some confusion about what exactly was agreed to between the two parties and the occasional heated debates as a result, the Treaty is still recognised as the most important doctrine upon which today's Parliamentary decisions are based.

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