Images courtesy John Panoho, Ko Wai
The brainchild of Maori tourism guru, John Panoho (Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua), of Navigator Tours, Auckland, it was developed by John in partnership with Peter Phillips (Ngati Werehi) and includes a number of leaders, including Rewi Spraggon (Ngati Hine,Ngati Maniapoto); Riki Bennett (Ngati Pikiao,Ngati Porou); and Eynon Delamere (Te Whanau a Apanui, Te Whanau a Tutawake), “who ensure tikanga is maintained.” “We’re always looking to include new leaders – people like Chellie Spiller, who is completing her PhD in Cultural Tourism at Auckland University,” says John Panoho (pictured above centre).
The Ko Wai concept is based around the central experience of the traditional hangi. It’s all about ‘learning by doing’ says John. Participants work together to produce a hangi from scratch – without matches! “There are opportunities here for leadership, co-operation and competition in the preparations for the hakari (feast), complete with karanga (welcome call), whaikorero (speeches), waiata (songs), perhaps a haka and the (hopefully) beautifully cooked food,” he adds. And while this is a serious programme, the leaders all subscribe to the philosophy that learning should be fun. The location too, is entirely flexible – “they may be based in the bush, on a beach, in a vineyard, by a stream, or on a lifestyle block.” You can find out more about this terrific programme by clicking on www.ko-wai.com