Our whānau is your whānau
How sharing our culture as a whānau (family) created a global whānau all around the world
Growing up in a small rural town in New Zealand was idyllic. Our family of eight lived in a tiny two bedroom house on the beach that my great grandfather built 50 years earlier. Our house had no electricity, we walked half an hour every morning to catch the school bus, and our dinner was often what we could catch or gather from the sea. Our spare time was spent exploring forests, surfing the local breaks, fishing off the rocks and riding horses around the headland with our cousins and friends. It was an amazing life for us as kids but our parents would spend hours each day commuting to the closest city for work each day.
When we got older we realised that although we lived in such a beautiful place there was no work opportunities and most of my 5 siblings and I ended up moving to Auckland or Australia for work.There was a disconnect from our culture and from our home. Our children were missing out on the opportunities we had experienced growing up.
“We started hosting travellers we met and shared our ideas with our family and friends who started hosting travellers as well… and Stay Native was born.”
As a whānau we discussed how we might come back and reconnect to our home and our culture, and as we were sitting there appreciating the blessings of the whenua (land) and moana (sea) we thought to ourselves, "Why can’t we share this beauty with others and make it a way for us to move home and earn a living?"
We started hosting travellers we met and shared our ideas with our family and friends who started hosting travellers as well. Soon people we didn’t even know started asking us about how they could host travellers as well and Stay Native was born. We now work to make it easier for indigenous families like ours to build sustainable businesses of their own by helping them to create amazing experiences for travellers, and empowering them to have the freedom to stay connected to their homes, their communities and their culture.