Our tourism roots extend back to the first European explorers.
In the 1840s, interpreter and writer, Edward Shortland set out on a journey to explore Te Waipounamu (the South Island) and gather information about native land claims. However, Shortland, like other early Pākehā, was unfamiliar with the rugged and unforgiving southern terrain, so to ensure a safe passage he sought help from local Ngāi Tahu guides.
These guides had an intimate understanding of the Southern landscape, and they used their knowledge to help early explorers travel through the difficult inland passes, across the treacherous rivers, and around the wild coastlines. Along the way the Ngāi Tahu guides introduced these manuhiri (visitors) to the local foods, traditions, and the people. Since this early period, Ngāi Tahu has been hosting, looking after, and guiding foreigners through Te Waipounamu (the South Island).