Established in 2007, Haka Tours and the wider Haka Tourism Group, are owned by The Sanders Whānau Trust, which was established to a provide a financial platform for future tourism-based family projects as well as providing a support mechanism for whānau members when in need. The wider Sanders whānau is of British, Kāi Tahu, Tūwharetoa and Tainui descent.
Today, the Haka Tourism Group incorporates nine separate businesses and employs over 150 people and is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing and most awarded tourism brands.
Haka Tours, our signature brand, was created with two clear objectives in mind: that the traditional group touring model needed to be re-imagined and that "size matters".
Our biggest frustration of a standard group tour was the inflexibility: your tour includes a whole bunch of activities and experiences, some of which you may be really excited about and some you weren't too keen on at all. But here is the catch – you knew you were paying for it in your tour price. So we decided to break the mould and strip out all of the non-essentials and just include accommodation, your Tour Manager, all transport, breakfast and some key cultural inclusions. Once a tour is selected, you can then customise your tour with a range of add-ons, experiences and upgrades.
Why did we include cultural experiences as an essential inclusion? No matter if you are on an adventure tour, snow tour, mountain bike tour or private group tour, we weave cultural education into our tours. Learn to paddle a waka (Māori canoe), learn to carve a pendant from greenstone and bone, stay at a marae, eat a hāngī, learn the myths and legends that are a cornerstone of Māori culture and a whole host of other experiences. Cultural-based learnings and experiences always underpin our customer experience and are a vital part of the tour.
And why does size matter? Our core belief has always been that small groups make for a far better travel experience and one where the customers can truly immerse themselves in learning about our country and culture. It also means we have smaller buses and that we can veer far from the main highways and show you locations that the bigger bus companies simply can not go. You can read more about why size matters here.
Our first tour departed in June 2007 and Haka Tours has barely had time to look back since. In 2008, snow tours were added to our range of adventures, followed by private group tours in 2013 – and in 2015 we introduced world class mountain biking tours to our range.
On 2 September 2010, we purchased our first property – a large 10-bedroom home in Christchurch that we were ready to convert to our first Haka Lodge. Those familiar with recent New Zealand history will realise that this was two days before the first Christchurch earthquake – and the property was damaged and flooded with sewage, but still standing.
This property opened 12 mths later than expected which would not have happened without the support from “Recover Canterbury”. Whilst we initially thought our first ever property investment was the worst possible timing ever, when we did open, we were full due to a lack of accommodation and enabled us to invest in future years into opening Haka Lodges in Queenstown, Auckland, Bay of Islands and Taupo.
2017 has seen our most exciting venture to date – Haka Hotels. Our first property opened in Auckland on K’ Road in December 2017, closely followed by the opening of Haka Hotel Newmarket in January 2018. We will be opening eight more hotels in the next five years and are especially interested in partnering with Māori trusts across New Zealand who are looking to invest in hotel developments.
Lastly, educational tourism has always been part and parcel of our product range since our first international school travelled with us in 2009. In 2015, we decided to really focus on this market and operate cultural, sporting and education-based tours for schools and universities within New Zealand and globally. We are proud to say we have already expanded into 10 countries with our Haka Educational Tours brand.
A decade on we couldn't be prouder of where we are. As a true New Zealand grass-roots start-up with just a few thousand dollars seed capital, our aspiration to be a leading tourism brand has definitely become a reality.
Call us: +64 9 520 5593
Skype us: hakatours