Air New Zealand’s Latest Safety Video Champions Māori Culture

Indigenous storytelling and cinematic landscapes come to the fore in an inspiring presentation.

All photos courtesy of Araraurangi/Air New Zealand

Back in 2018, Air New Zealand along with six other organizations created the Tiaki Promise, educating local visitors about protecting their country by treading lightly on the earth, respecting the culture, and showing consideration for others. Its newly launched safety video, Tiaki and the Guardians, builds on this work and expands the promise’s scope to international travelers returning after two years of border closures, asking them to care for the place and its people during their visit.

The story follows Tiaki, a young man who boards a waka rererangi (flying canoe) and sets off on an adventure across Aotearoa. With the help of Air New Zealand and Julie, a character that embodies the rest of New Zealand, he visits four Māori guardians including Papatūānuku (the land), Tangaroa (sea), Tāne Mahuta (forest) and Ranginui (sky). Along the way he seeks advice from these guardians on how better to look after them.

Jeremy O’Brien, Air New Zealand’s General Manager for Brand and Marketing, said in a statement, “We want tourism to build back better than it was before and part of that is to share with our visitors a sense of kaitiaki (guardianship)—to encourage them to act like guardians of our country. Our safety videos are world renowned and through them, we have an opportunity to educate and inspire ourselves, our customers, and Aotearoa on the importance of Tiaki and everything it stands for. It’s about being good hosts, and good visitors.”

The airline worked closely with the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua to design the traditional canoe and its carvings. It was then taken to the various filming locations and flown on wires to create real shadows and textures for post-production. Cutting-edge LED stage screens, used in The Mandalorian TV series, helped to bring the legends of Māori culture to life. Tiaki and the Guardians has been introduced across Air New Zealand’s international and domestic fleet, and can be viewed on YouTube here.

In Air New Zealand’s new safety video, the airplane is reimagined as a flying Māori canoe.

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