I read with interest an article by Mark Graham entitled Give Auckland some South Pacific culture.
In what is claimed to be the world’s largest Polynesian city, where is one to find any evidence of Maori or Polynesian culture in the downtown area? Until the Waka was erected, there was nothing. One must travel up the hill to the War Memorial Museum to experience anything of substance – and that mostly behind glass.
And where do Maori and Polynesians themselves go to see their own culture on show and presented to the world? The Otara market? Apart from a couple of tourist-focused Marae tours and the Museum, we offer nothing.
He raises some interesting points that until the 2011 Rugby World Cup with the addition of WakaMāori, Auckland had virtually no Māori cultural interaction other than the domain museum that was easily accessable regularly by Auckland’s public or visitors. And now the WakaMāori has gone we are back to little choices.
You have to really hunt out any significant Māori or Pacific cultural interaction. Time and again our tourist reviews highlight that one of the primary reasons people want to come to New Zealand is not for the variety of scenery or it’s traditionally friendly people, but for it’s Māori culture.
Looks like an opportunity for some smart Māori or Pacific entreupreneurs.