Tauranga Vananga’s Department of Cultural Development and Cook Islands Tourism held their latest round of cultural guide workshops on Thursday last week.
The workshops were part of joint commitments between the two organizations, outlined in their two-year memorandum of understanding, Cook Islands Tourism said in a statement.
The workshop opened with speeches from the Supreme Chiefs of Vaka Te Au O Tonga who supported the workshop as Karika Ariki stressed the importance of consistency and accuracy in the stories tour guides need to share with their visitors.
Tauranga Vananga director Ngarangi Tangaroa-Teio explained that these were the last cultural guide workshops for Rarotonga with Vaka Takitumu and Vaka Puaikura which were held earlier in the year.
Sieni Tiraa, Sustainable Tourism Manager, Cook Islands Tourism, said: “The Tour Guides Workshop helped provide tour operators with information on historic sites and their cultural significance in each of the Vaka in Rarotonga. These series of workshops focused on improving the cultural knowledge of our local tour guides and contributing to
strengthen the cultural pillar for the development of sustainable tourism.
“The guest speakers and cultural experts, Makiuti Tongia and Ngarima George, presented the different districts of the Vaka of Te Au O Tonga, which were well received by more than fifty tour guides representing the different tour operators of Rarotonga,” Tiraa added. .
The workshop consisted of a conference style workshop with cultural experts sharing their knowledge of the stories related to the 19 tapere (districts) of Te Au O Tonga.
One of the many outcomes of the workshop included a recommendation to create an information portal containing cultural and historical information sheets that could be easily accessible for tour guides to enhance their knowledge to share with their clients.
Tauranga Vananga and Cook Islands Tourism will announce the Aitutaki Cultural Workshop in the coming months.