“Maori culture still holds strong to traditional values – things like family, looking after your elders and manaakitanga, which is making sure your guests are well looked after.”
top Must Dos
Drink craft beer & eat pizza
When Kiley Nepia’s cousins were out playing rugby in the paddock, he would be listening to the old people in tribal discussions. By the time he was a teenager, he was the kaikorero, or ambassador, for Omaka Marae.
“I had a passion for the culture and stood out at an early age as someone with leadership qualities,” he says. “I was brought up at the marae at the time it was being built and was immersed in our cultural heritage and Maori identity. “I learnt things like manaakitanga - Maori hospitality - and in those early years when we had groups coming onto the marae, I played a lead role in those things.”
That value of hospitality is an important part of the cultural tours offered through Kiley’s business Maori Experiences. “I knew that one of the biggest reasons people were coming to New Zealand was to experience Maori culture, but in places like Marlborough they couldn’t access it. So over recent years I have developed an authentic Maori experience,” he says.
People visiting Marlborough can see how Maori have taken our traditional culture and woven it into today’s society and how we as storytellers and guardians keep the culture alive. “Maori culture still holds strong to traditional values – things like family, looking after your elders and manaakitanga, which is making sure your guests are well looked after.”
He says people are blown away that they are able to hold on to those traditional values in this fast paced world. “When they come with us, it’s almost like they push pause and can go back to the way things used to be.”