A magical land of natural wonders and unique marvels, New Zealand holds a special place in the hearts and minds of not only its residents but also the inquisitive travelers who flock to its tranquil shores to experience everything that the country has to offer. Well known for its stunning scenery, pristine wilderness, and native wildlife, Aotearoa is an extraordinary place… like none other on earth.
Such delicate beauty is a fragile, finite resource and must be carefully protected and conserved for the benefit of everyone and for the generations yet to come. Preserving the land, history, and culture of New Zealand is a sacred trust… a responsibility that we all share. It is up to us… all of us… to come together and act as joint custodians, to let our shared love of the land and our appreciation for its hidden secrets and untold stories inspire us to think broadly and carefully consider the consequences of our actions. We need to look with hope toward the future, while maintaining our connections to the past, and ensure that we are nurturing an ongoing commitment to preserving and sustaining this land and the world around us.
The Maori people have long understood that our own well-being is inextricably linked to the natural environment and the land that supports and sustains us. They recognise that these bonds are strengthened over time and are reflected in our history and our interactions with those who share our world, whether immediate family or distant neighbours, and in the hospitality that we offer to strangers, securing the future and building the foundations of friendship.
This is epitomised in Te Reo Maori, the Maori language, as Tiaki, meaning to guard, hold in trust, protect, and conserve. Ultimately, Tiaki means caring for people and place… for nature, for people, and for culture.
Care for nature
In New Zealand, our land and natural environment is one of our most prized and precious resources. It falls to us, and to all who come here, to safeguard the land, taking care to conserve it for future generations.
If we commit ourselves to embracing eco-friendly practices and to leaving the land just as we found it, we are well on our way to becoming sustainable, toitu, and upholding one of the core principles of Tiaki. We must all act as kaitiaki, guardians, and devote ourselves to protecting the bounty that nature has provided by sheltering and enhancing our environment… our land, our oceans, and our wild creatures. We must tread lightly and leave no trace.
“Take only pictures; leave only footprints.”
By taking care to reduce our impact on the environment and paying attention to the natural world around us, we become champions of Tiaki, defending nature and standing as an example to others.
Care for people
Just as important as caring for the land, Tiaki also emphasises the importance of caring for each other. As New Zealanders, Kiwis pride themselves on their manaakitanga, their hospitality and generosity, and providing a warm welcome to all.
“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!”
“What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!”
These people come to New Zealand from all over the world, whether to visit, to work, or to live in this amazing country. This diversity is one of the things that makes Aotearoa so unique and is one of our greatest strengths. It permeates our communities and our way of life and opens up windows into understanding each other and the world we live in.
Getting to know the locals and experiencing authentic Kiwi living and the warmth of our hospitality is an integral part of enjoying the true character of New Zealand. Visitors, too, can contribute to and support Tiaki by sharing that same care and respect with those around them as they explore the wonders of this great country.
By working together, embracing our differences, and taking responsibility for our own behaviour and safety we demonstrate respect and care for all people and cultures. We ensure that New Zealand remains the warm welcoming place that has captured the hearts and imaginations of the world.
Care for culture
One of the things that draws visitors to New Zealand is our extraordinary culture. Whether it is the unique perspective of our indigenous people, Maoritanga (Māori practices, beliefs, and way of life) or just the everyday colour of our ‘Kiwitanga’ (Kiwi-ness), New Zealand culture is a fundamental part of our mutual heritage and identity… of who we are as a people and as a nation.
Our shared history and experiences underpin the entirety of New Zealand society and provide visitors with unique opportunities to participate in ways that promote fellowship and genuine understanding… one that fosters open hearts and open minds. This inclusive culture is one of our taonga, or treasures, and treating it with well-deserved respect and care ensures that our history, values, and stories are preserved and passed on to future generations.
From the solemn importance of Matauranga Maori – the body of knowledge originating from the Māori ancestors… the Māori world view, creativity, and cultural practices – to the beloved whimsy of Kiwiana – those treasured artefacts of New Zealand nostalgia – each and every element that contributes to our culture holds a key place in the overarching whole. In order to ensure that these valued traditions and customs endure, we must all share a commitment, Kiwis and visitors alike, to care for New Zealand and stand as guardians of this precious cultural heritage.
Connect with Care
If we all do our part and approach everything we do here sustainably, with Tiaki foremost in our thoughts and behaviour, we can secure a bright future for New Zealand and the continued joy and promise it brings.
As Kiwis we can:
• Embrace sustainability as a core practice and measure of success
• Exceed expectations and provide true value to those who visit our shores
• Come together as a community for the greater good
• Restore, protect, and enhance the environment for the benefit of all, not and in the future
As visitors you can:
• Care for the environment: land, sea, and nature
• Keep New Zealand clean. Tread lightly. Leave no trace.
• Travel safely and show respect, care, and consideration for all
• Respect culture and approach everything with open hearts and open minds
Ready to make the Tiaki Promise? Do your part.
Veronika Vermeulen is Director of Aroha New Zealand Tours Ltd. Aroha New Zealand Tours Ltd. has been offering 100% tailored journeys and private guided luxury experiences in New Zealand since 2000.