Making the Connection

Franz Josef Glacier Guides and Hot Pools staff wearing their pounamu toki.

Franz Josef Glacier Guides and Hot Pools staff wearing their pounamu toki.

As part of its new Making the Connection strategy and in recognition of long service, Ngāi Tahu Tourism has gifted 330 pounamu toki to staff who have worked at least 500 hours for the organisation.

Presentation ceremonies have been held at the Ngāi Tahu Tourism businesses throughout the country, with Ngāi Tahu kaumātua present to support mihi and karakia, and to explain the significance and the legends associated with pounamu.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism chief executive, Quinton Hall says staff reaction to the koha has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Making the Connection is about connecting our people more closely to each other, and to Ngāi Tahu and our values. The toki gifting is an important way of doing that and our team members have taken it very seriously; many have found it quite emotional,” he says.

Ng`ai Tahu Tourism Chief Executive Quinton Hall gifting a toki to Pat est from Glacier Southern Helicopters.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism Chief Executive Quinton Hall gifting a toki to Pat West from Glacier Southern Helicopters.

“It has definitely brought about a greater understanding of Ngāi Tahu, and across our whole family of businesses.”

All of the Ngāi Tahu Tourism toki have been carved from one single, very large pounamu kōhatu – “which makes them all the more special and serves to unite us as one whānau.”

The gifting ceremonies are also seen as a key opportunity for teams to socialise and to meet Ngāi Tahu kaumātua.

“Most of the team are wearing their toki daily, with pride, which is great to see,” says Quinton Hall.

“Our businesses are very much focussed on the Ngāi Tahu values of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga – on creating a sense of belonging and building lasting relationships. By gifting these toki we are building on those values.”