Authentic Kiwi hospitality for 2011 rugby fans   28 May 2010

Tourism New Zealand - Rugby fans keen for an authentic experience while visiting New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011 can sign up for some home-grown Kiwi hospitality.

In the spirit of manaakitanga - Maori hospitality - a growing number of innovative New Zealand companies are proposing affordable alternative accommodation in private homes, holiday baches and on Maori marae.

Tour company A New Zealand Experience is offering a once-in-a-lifetime ‘marae stay’ package - where visitors get the chance to stay in an authentic Maori marae or meeting house, as well as taste and see genuine Maori culture.

Product manager David Tanenui says A New Zealand Experience aims to have 30 marae available in Auckland, and at least 10 in Dunedin, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton for fans who want to follow their teams around the country.

"We will be supplying cheap, affordable accommodation for visitors coming to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup and beyond. Prices range from $80 to $300 per night depending on which marae tourists will be staying in," he said.

Real Maori hospitality
David Tanenui says A New Zealand Experience was founded with the aim of showing overseas visitors some manaakitanga, or true Maori hospitality - as well as giving them a chance to have authentic cultural experiences.

Tourists will be able to choose from three different styles of accommodation: backpacker-style, three-star, or five-star luxury.

On arrival in New Zealand, visitors will be greeted with a traditional Maori powhiri or welcome, be provided with three meals a day which includes a hangi, and have a chance to see cultural performances, concerts, ta moko - Maori tatto art, arts and crafts.

Although the company will not be selling tickets to rugby games, they will help take tourists to training sessions to get their favourite team’s autographs.

"As part of A New Zealand Experience’s itinerary, we will also help organise transport to and from games, tourist trips utilising Maori tourism companies and help them attend events and fan zones," Tanenui said.

Kiwi home-stays

Other Kiwis are throwing open their homes or holiday homes via a new website called Kiwicrib - an online, self-managed room rental service that will operate throughout the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Website subscribers can either list individual rooms in their home, or put their entire home up for rent for overseas bookings. A crib or bach is the New Zealand name for a holiday home.

Kiwicrib director Matt Kardos says the website links together fans looking for not just affordable accommodation, but a way to mingle with real New Zealanders.

"There will be a shortage of visitor accommodation and we want international fans to experience great Kiwi hospitality by living with locals," Kardos said.

The user-friendly website allows guests to choose rooms or homes according to region and area, and the games schedule for the Rugby World Cup.

Ordinary Kiwis muck in

A casual idea to invite Italian rugby fans to stay in their home has snowballed into an international business for Nelson couple Sue and Paul Robinson.

The couple, along with business partner Paula Brophy, have launched an alternative online accommodation solution called 80 Minute Game, which links Rugby World Cup fans with quality, previously-vetted private homes, baches, B&Bs, backpackers and home-stay accommodation.

Each property listed on the website has been vetted according to strict criteria, and guests will also be screened.

"Three months out we will physically go to every property and check it out for safety and suitability. At the end of the day it is our name on the line," Sue Robinson said.

The website offers visitors the change to pay for their accommodation in instalments prior to their arrival in New Zealand.

"Our aim is to be a major contributing factor in ensuring New Zealand is a success in hosting the Rugby World Cup, and we have to ensure New Zealand ends the competition with the best possible reputation," Robinson said.

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