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Tāmaki Hikoi awarded Gold Qualmark

Posted by Rebecca Sullivan on October 10, 2018

Tāmaki Hikoi is excited to share that after receiving a Silver award in 2017, from our 2018 Qualmark evaluation, we have achieved the Gold award under the Sustainable Tourism Business criteria.

This has come after continuing to improve and enhance our back office systems, looking for opportunities to continue growing and developing our products and keeping up with industry best practise. This award is not only representation of the work of the Tāmaki Hikoi team, but the wider Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei community who continue to exude the values of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga.

“Qualmark provides evidence that your business has been independently validated as a quality tourism business. It provides instant recognition for customers that your business will deliver a quality experience.”

Here’s a snippet from our feedback: “your award can be proudly displayed as evidence that Tāmaki Hikoi is committed to protecting our beautiful natural environment, enhancing connections with our local communities, whilst also delivering a quality, safe experience for all visitors.”

You can find out more about Qualmark and the evaluation process here.

A Day in the Life - My First Tour - Aurtum Martin

Posted by Website Admin on December 14, 2017

Slip, slop, slap and wrap because this day was a scorcher!!!

 *Comfy shoes (CHECK)
 *Shorts (CHECK)
​ *Tamaki Hikoi uniform (CHECK)

I am officially ready to facilitate my very own hikoi up Maungawhau!


 This hikoi started in the car park half way up the maunga. We stop at the mountains namesake, the Whau tree. We then carry on, up the maunga along the edge of "the largest crater in Aotearoa", which is called Te Ipu Kai o Mataoho. In English this can be  translated to; the food bowl of Mataoho, Mataoho being the God of all Volcanoes. We then carry on up and make a stop looking out to the south by north west of Auckland. We then head to the summit, which is the tallest natural landmark in the Auckland isthmus.  

As we gradually make our way up the summit the tourists ask questions like "what year was the Harbour Bridge made?" or "what’s the tree with the bright red flowers called?". As the guides we should have an answer for these questions. Lucky for me I did a little bit of home work and the answers are 1959 and Pōhutukawa tree. It’s always good to include facts like, 10 years after the bridge was developed they added 4 more lanes making it an eight lane bridge, or the Pōhutukawa is commonly known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.

It really is amazing taking people around our whenua and they are really astonished with what they experience. It really empowers me as a rangatahi, that foreigners really love what we wake up to every day. It just makes me appreciate my whenua even more.

There is a lot of other mahi which I am really enjoying. This week I have been doing an extensive research on some potential, meaningful tours, which we could facilitate and give our own perspective on.  Within this research I have to understand our obligations as an iwi, the regulations regarding the tours, potential expenses, support needed, and what employment opportunities we could offer. This project has been enlightening as I didn’t realize the vast about of obligations and things we need to consider when creating these tours.


Io mahi katoa, mahia

"Whatever you do, do it to the best of your abilities"

A Day in the Life - Aurtum Martin - Intern & Guide

Posted by Website Admin on December 08, 2017

We have recently welcomed intern, Aurtum Martin to our team. As part of her internship, Aurtum will be writing a weekly blog, sharing her experiences as a guide for Tāmaki Hikoi and working in Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's Tourism unit. Check her first post out below. 


Ka timata ahau I tōku tūpuna a Tuperiri. Na Tuperiri ka puta ko Tarahawaiki,
Na Tarahawaiki, ka puta ko Apihai Te Kawau; na Apihai Te Kawau, ka puta ko Herawhakamana
Na Herawhakamana ka puta ko Te Hira Pateoro; na Te Hira Pateoro, ka puta ko Hamiora Pateoro
Na Hamiora Pateoro, ka puta ko Mihiata Te Mamae; na Mihiata Te Mamae ka puta ko Herawhakamana
Na Herawhakamana ka puta ko Ngakari; na Ngakari ka puta ko Herawhakamana
Na Herawhakamana ka puta ko Leah; na Leah ka puta ko ahau.

Ko Mahuhu Ki Te Rangi te waka, ko Maungakiekie te maunga, ko Waitemata te awa, ko Ngā Oho, Te Tāōū, me Te Uringutu ngā hapu.  Ko Aurtum Grace Ngakari Martin.

Tihei Mauri Ora

Kia ora whānau, my name is Aurtum and I am deeply humbled and appreciative to be undergoing an internship, working for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in the Business Development - Tourism sector. I am also honoured to be working with Uncle Jamie Cook and Rebecca Sullivan. They both create an enjoyable yet focused, driven working environment. This is currently my third week and I am LOVING IT! I love working with my family and also love being able walk five minutes down the road to work.  One of my jobs I have been assigned is writing this blog you are now reading, as well as taking tourists around our whenua (land) on our Tāmaki Hikoi tours. I enjoy showing the tourists around our whenua and enriching them with a Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei perspective on the occupation, settlements and also just the day to day living and resources used back in the day.  The three destinations during our tours are Maungawhau, Takaparawhau and also the winter gardens by the domain.

This weekly blog is going to let all my whanau know what I am doing, what I am learning and also what I am educating the tourists during this hikoi I take.
Please let me know if you have any stories/facts or pakiwaitara you would like me to share to the tourists.


"Whaia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei"
"Seek that which is most precious, if you should bow let it be to a lofty mountain"

A Day in the Life - The Whenua Rangatira - Aurtum Martin

Posted by Website Admin on

One of the things that I have been researching for my internship is the different plants on the whenua, their uses and the importance of them to restoring our native bush. This information is exciting to share with the guests we host on the whenua - they always enjoy learning about the different plants. How much do you know about Harakeke? Here's what I've been learning...

Harakeke is also known by the scientific name (Phormium tenax & phormium cookianum)
Harakeke is one of the most oldest plant species found in New Zealand and is found all over Aotearoa, commonly in the lower land swamp area.

Use: The household name for Harakeke is flax. The seed of the harakeke is used for its oil as it has linoleic acid (CLA) which has a multi-purpose medicinal use, such as anti-cancer properties, anti-asthmatic properties, helps with osteoporosis and also high cholesterol just to name a few. In the stump of the harakeke in the base of the plant is found a gel.  This gel can be used for cuts, burns and itchy bites. When applying the gel on to skin it turns into a layer, just like an Aloe vera type of gel.

Aesthetics: The harakeke looks like a long green sword, which grows up to 2-3 meters long. The long dark black stalks which the flowers grow from can grow up to 4 meters long. The dark red flowers on the harakeke are called kōrari .

In a Māori perspective, harakeke is an analogy to a whānau. This is shown with the core of the plant. The first shoot is called the rito and is seen as the child.  The parents are both surrounded around the rito and are both called awhi rito. The harakeke on the outer layers are the tupuna (grandparents). If the core shoots are taken out, the plant will die.  This is why when weaving, experts have to undergo an appropriate karakia and know what flax to cut in order for the harakeke to continue to flourish. 

There are a vast range of tikanga to uphold when weaving this plan. There are two native species of harakeke that are commonly used to weave flax (Phormium tenax/Phormium cookianum). The rito and the awhi rito should never be touched. Only the outer layers should be cut but before there should be a karakia done before cutting, the weather conditions also affect the extraction of harakeke. Cutting in a downward motion, close to the base as possible as this will help the harakeke continue to flourish longer. Traditionally women aren’t allowed to cut the harakeke but traditions have been modernised.

I shared much of this information with the guests on my first Home Fires of Tamaki hikoi that I hosted alone this week. 

I hadn’t stopped thinking about this since the moment Becs told me I was doing this hikoi on the whenua rangatira... ALONE.
I woke up this morning going though all my dialogue and all the information I have been studying for a while BECAUSE I WAS TAKING A HIKOI ALONE THIS MORNING!!! I get nervous facilitating a hikoi, I think you could imagine how I was feeling about this.

So I’m at Mickey Sav (Michael J Savage Memorial) waiting for my group to arrive and I spot a van of people. They all make their way out of the van and assemble by Becs and I.  I notice that they have three children with them and I get nervous because most content I know is all pretty advanced and not child friendly. I snap out of it and realise I’ve been studying primary teaching for three years now and tell myself its all going to be fine.
I then try to take charge and introduce myself as the tour guide, one man responds by introducing himself and the rest of his family and we begin the hikoi.

1st Stop

The Home Fires of Tamaki hikoi begins at Michael J Savage Memorial. At this stop I surprised myself as a outflow of dialogue, depicting the first elected Labour Prime Minister, implementing our welfare systems in NZ, who was in Parliament from 1935 to 1940. All this information was just coming to my head and I was really amazed.

2nd Stop

The second stop is Joanne's point and at this point, Uncle Jamie tell us to “lay it on strong”, so making sure manuhiri know how hard the protest and occupation was on us as a hapū, to understand who was in the wrong and the consequences this protest had on us as an iwi. 

3rd stop
After the pouri part of the tour, I like to take them to the Ti Kouka plant and get them to taste it because I really enjoy this as an afternoon snack. I then take them to the waharoa but I will make sure there is a bit of distance between us and the waharoa. I also advise them to not take photos.

4th Stop
The fourth stop is the nursery and the maara. I really like showing the manuhiri the parakore and it make me feel proud explaining our Zero Waste initiatives because it shows our respect to Papatuanuku and further reflects the land not belonging to us but us belonging to the land. 
5th Stop
The last stop is right in my backyard, the barracks. I like this last stop because it is a really personal spot to me as it was my playground when I was attending Te Kura a Iwi Ngāti  Whātua o Orākei. At this stop I explain that the land was wrongly taken from us under the Defence Force Act then later under the Public Works Act.
So I finally stopped being shy and I took my own hikoi, all alone and I really enjoyed it!
I can't wait for further experiences in my internship and taking more hikoi.

Have a safe Christmas and a happy new year

“Must do for visitors to NZ and locals alike. Stunning way to welcome the day. Learned a lot about local Maori culture, past and present,...”

Visitor from Auckland

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