Ngāi Tahu Tourism has introduced te reo Māori names across its fleet of jet boats in Glenorchy and Tāhuna (Queenstown). The jet boats at Dart River Adventures and Shotover Jet were blessed by mana whenua.
Ngāi Tahu Tourism purchased the two experiences in 1999 and they are part of the 14 businesses in the tourism operator’s portfolio.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says, “We have a strong focus on ensuring that our commercial businesses reflect our Ngāi Tahu identity and values, and the naming of these boats is an important step in that journey. These names further connect our manuhiri with the stories of our tīpuna.”
The Shotover Jet boats have been named after rivers and lakes closest to Kimiākau (the Shotover River) that helped Ngāi Tahu tīpuna (ancestors) move around the area. The Dart River Adventures boats have been given traditional Ngāi Tahu names of the places of significance that surround manuhiri (visitors) on their journey through the Dart River Valley and the World Heritage Area of Mount Aspiring National Park.
Ngāi Tahu Tourism Chief Executive Quinton Hall says, “We are incredibly privileged to have been guided by mana whenua to name our fleet of boats in this way. The names support our purpose of ‘tuia’ – to make the connection with our customers, to our place and to Ngāi Tahu, and we are delighted to see them on the water.
“It’s been a really deep and engaging process with the manawhenua in terms of getting that right and when you take that time and you do it right, you get a richer result.”
Hosting one million manuhiri each year, Ngāi Tahu Tourism is able to offer authentic and genuine connections through adventure, culture and nature. “This is a real point of difference for us and we are proud to be able to share the significance of these names with our manuhiri,” Mr Hall says.
David Higgins, Upoko of Moeraki Rūnanga and member of the mana whenua working party, says the naming theme for Shotover Jet is ‘waterways as highways of our tīpuna’. This was chosen because of the nature of the Queenstown Lakes district and its traditional use which enabled Ngāi Tahu tīpuna to traverse from one coastline to another.
“During the warmer months, our tīpuna would walk inland to Tāhuna and harvest the birds from the wetlands, foothills and forest, search for pounamu in the rivers, and gather taramea. To get these resources home they would build a flotilla of mōkihi, a reed raft, and make the journey home on the network of waterways,” Mr Higgins says.
Paulette Tamati-Elliffe, member of the mana whenua working party, says at Dart River Adventures, the theme is ‘place names of Te Ara Whakatipu’. “Because of the nature and remoteness of the location, we believe this an opportunity to further embed our names into the landscape and contribute to the revitalisation of te reo Māori, as Ngāi Tahu Tourism will be able to share this important information with manuhiri from Aotearoa and further afield,” she says.
“We have these beautiful names restored and you’ll see them on all our waka and it’ll become part of the culture of the business. Our drivers will speak of these names, they’ll be shared with over a million people a year and they’ll be known by our own people here too.”
“All the names they represent all the significant land features of the region – our maunga, our awa and those waterways that connect to our mahi but also that connect to all our papatipu marae throughout te Murihiku.”
Shotover Jet has also unveiled a new look for its fleet of twin-engine jet boats, the first significant redesign since 2001. The new look includes a kōwhaiwhai (Māori pattern) based on the mangopare or hammerhead shark, representing strength, agility and power. Also, within the mangopare pattern, the tips have been modified to represent the mōkihi that Ngāi Tahu tīpuna created to carry mahinga kai (natural resources) and pounamu (greenstone) from one place to another.
Shotover Jet boat names:
- Kimiākau – Shotover River
- Haehaenui – Arrow River
- Ōrau – Cardrona River
- Mataura – connects to Southland
- Mata-au – Clutha River
- Nokomai – joins Te Papapuni (Nevis River) to Mataura
- Te Papapuni – Nevis River
Dart River Adventures boat names:
- Whakatipu Waimāori – the traditional name for Lake Whakatipu
- Kā Mauka Whakatipu – the Māori name of the Ailsa Range, situated north-west of Whakatipu Waimāori
- Tarahaka Whakatipu – the Māori name of the Harris Saddle
- Te Koroka – Te Koroka is located at the head of Whakatipu Waimāori. Te Koroka was a well-known area for gathering pounamu. According to Ngāi Tahu tradition, Te Koroka is a reclining giant from whose mouth the pounamu exits the maunga (mountain). Te Koroka is the name of the maunga where this pounamu vein occurs.
- Tāhuna – Tāhuna is the Māori name for the area around the wharf at Glenorchy, located on the north-eastern edge of Whakatipu Waimāori. Tāhuna is a Māori geographical term used to describe a shallow sandbank. Tāhuna is also the name of Queenstown.
- Te Puia – Te Puia is a settlement located at the head of Whakatipu Waimāori that was an important stop off point for Ngāi Tahu who were gathering pounamu.
- Ari – Ari (Mount Alfred) is located at the junction of Te Awa Whakatipu and Puhirere at the head of Whakatipu Waimāori. Ari was a tūpuna (ancestor) whose grandson, Ōturu, is the Māori name for nearby Diamond Lake. It is common for Māori to name prominent peaks after our ancestors.
- Ōturu – Ōturu is the Māori name for Lake Diamond located at the head of Whakatipu Waimāori. Ōturu is the name of a tūpuna (ancestor).