News | Students learn hands on Maori Cultural Experiences at Tokikapu Marae Camp

Students learn hands on Maori Cultural Experiences at Tokikapu Marae Camp

A powhiri onto Tokikapu marae, Waitomo, set the scene for 19 students, embarking on ATTTO’s Cultural Tourism Gateway camp, during the recent school holidays. 

The camp gave students the opportunity to gain hands on experience in a Māori tourism setting, while completing tourism and Māori culture unit standards. ATTTO (the industry training organisation for aviation, travel and tourism) has worked with Tokikapu marae to design, develop and deliver this programme.

The concept of the camp is that students participate in cultural activities, including flax weaving and carving, learn about nearby tourism attractions and contribute to the running of the host organisation. They eat and sleep in the marae and also spend time in the classroom completing unit standards. “It can be a challenge for schools to find suitable work placements for Gateway students. These camps are an ideal solution,” says Kathy Wolfe CEO – ATTTO

Each day and night of the camp programme was efficiently managed with little down time but filled with meaningful Māori cultural experiences. Visiting the local Waitomo Caves provided a hands on learning experience of the culture and legends from the region. The camp finished with a Grande Finale with Waiata and haka performances by the students.

Miria Davis, marae camp organiser welcomed the opportunity to host the students and to run the camp.  “It was a great opportunity for the marae to gather their community together and to participate in the event and to feel the pride of being tangata whenua (people from there) as well”.

The new ATTTO resources hit the mark with the students.   Tom Parsons, ATTTO Cultural  Advisor said the students were comfortable with the Māori cultural content of the new resource and its tourism focus. “They found the assessment tasks interesting and at times challenging”.

The students will be more familiar with the Maori people, landscape and the stories that connect the two.