9 Sep 2011

Rugby World Cup not beginning and end of Maori tourism

6:59 pm on 9 September 2011

A Maori tourism leader says visitors' indigenous experience does not start and end with the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby fans and television viewers have been treated to a display of 20 waka and hundreds of warriors from North Island tribes on the Auckland waterfront before the tournament's opening ceremony on Friday night.

The head of the Maori Tourism Society says other events - such as Matariki, Waitangi Day and the Parihaka International Peace Festival - are just as important.

But chairman Glen Katu believes the world will be dazzled and captured by the Maori culture and maanakitanga, or hospitality, during the tournament.

"I believe that our culture will be the unique point of difference that would set us apart from all the other world cups around the world."

He says as well as the rugby, scenery and landscapes, visitors will remember the Maori culture.