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Pukaha launches new cultural immersion tour: Te Hikoi o Pukaha

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre along with local iwi, has developed a new cultural tour for their visitors to enjoy. Te Hikoi o Pūkaha will see local iwi members from Rangitāne o Wairarapa guide visitors through the Pūkaha forest and connect Māori culture with the natural world. Through story-telling visitors will learn about the wildlife and trees inside the forest and hear related Māori myths and legends directly from specialist tangata whenua (people of the land) rangers. The tour has been created with a desire to work more inclusively with Rangitāne - the kaitaiaki (guardians) of Pūkaha - and in response to visitor feedback.

Emily Court, General Manager at PÅ«kaha sees Te Hikoi o PÅ«kaha as a significant step in deepening relationships between Rangitāne, PÅ«kaha and visitors. "These tours are incredibly special for all of us. Visitors will get rich stories of Māori whakapapa (genealogy), wairoatunga (spirituality) and whenua (land) alongside PÅ«kaha history to really connect them spiritually with our site. In turn the tour is also a huge step forward in cementing the long-term relationship that we have with Rangitāne and in telling their stories to future generations. It really is a momentous day in PÅ«kaha’s history given this aspect". The tour is thought to be unique and unlike anything else currently on offer in the Wairarapa.

Today’s inaugural launch coincides with the start of Māori language week and the special and historic occasion was marked with a powerful pōwhiri. Several local dignitaries were present including Rangitāne members, Kieran McAnulty MP, Wairarapa District Mayors Viv Napier and John Booth and Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis. The tour lasts one and a half hours and is open to the public from the 14th of September 2019. Tours will run on weekends at 11am and 2pm and daily throughout the school holidays. Bookings are advised.

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