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Te Urewera Treks and Whakatau Rainforest Retreat operate with a holistic lens - meaning our bottom line involves being in harmony and balance with the Taiao (environment), supporting wellbeing and prosperity for our people and the transference of our indigenous knowledge.

We commit a large amount of time, much of it on a voluntary basis, to a range of community organisations and projects. These include Te Urewera Rainforest Route, Te Manawa a Hiwi Trust, Tuhoe Tuawhenua Trust, the Ruataahuna Tourism Collective and The Manawaru Tribal Economic Portfolio. We are also in the process of setting up a new trust that will focus on the restoration of indigenous rainforest in Te Urewera - Rainforest Restoration Charitable Trust. To date, in partnership with Dutch tour wholesaler TravelEssence, we have planted over 13,000 native trees and raised almost NZ$10,000 towards their ongoing maintenance, as part of this rainforest restoration project. 

We continuously look for ways to improve the way we operate to ensure you have the best possible experience.

Our operational principles are underpinned by the Maori concepts of Kaitiakitanga, Manaakitanga me te hononga ki Te Taiao.


The basic meaning for the term ‘tiaki’ is ‘to guard’ but it has other closely related meanings depending upon the context. Tiaki may therefore also mean, to keep, to preserve, to conserve, to foster, to protect, to shelter, to keep watch over.

The prefix ‘kai’ with a verb denotes the agent of the act. A ‘kaitiaki’ is a guardian, keeper, preserver, conservator, foster-parent, protector.

The suffix ‘tanga’ added to the noun makes it active and means guardianship, preservation, conservation, fostering, protecting, sheltering.  This is a reciprocal relationship between people and our natural family, the environment.


The basic meaning for the term 'manaaki' is 'to care for' and is mainly used to refer to looking after people.

The suffix ‘tanga’ added to the noun makes it active and means hospitality, caring for, welcoming, looking after.

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