Authentic Maori tourism a potential game changer here

Opportunity for Maori tourism operators.

Opportunity for Maori tourism operators.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: BDO’s Kylee Potae says her belief Tairawhiti is sitting on a golden opportunity, in the form of cultural tourism, was confirmed at a recent indigenous accountants’ forum she attended in Vancouver. Picture supplied

Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employs 7.5 percent of the country’s workforce. This highlights a very real opportunity for Maori tourism operators, and for our community to build on and grow our offering to the international market.

Tairawhiti has a unique proposition to bring to the tourism market — we are the first place in the world to see the dawning of the new day and, with a large Maori population, we are poised well to pick up this opportunity and run with it. The high-end visitor to New Zealand will pay a premium for a uniquely grounding experience that intertwines Maori ethos, culture and guiding principles.

In Tairawhiti, we have entered a post-settlement phase and, along with land blocks harvesting their forestry assets, for some it is the first time in 30 years they will have cash to invest.

Uniquely Tairawhiti-flavoured Maori tourism

This brings about an opportunity to invest collectively — to collaborate to bring about a uniquely Tairawhiti-flavoured Maori tourism.

The 2017 Maori Development budget has also allocated $10 million to accelerate the growth of Maori tourism.

Often we are unaware of the global thirst for Maori tourism — something genuine, cultural, spiritual and an experience people do not forget, because of its real and obvious connection to the land and relevance to our humanity.

While offshore recently at an indigenous accountants’ forum in Vancouver, I had a chance to see what other indigenous people were doing, how they were investing and in what industries. Most spoke of their heritage assets and the cultural tourism that surrounds them.

What I saw and heard confirmed my belief that in Tairawhiti we are sitting on a golden opportunity; one that has the potential to bring employment and real growth through foreign investment.

There are some very real challenges that need to be traversed for our local entrepreneurial spirit to be unleashed.

One is the capital raising challenge. While not easy, it is also not impossible if you do sound planning so investors can believe and understand your vision and future forecasts.

Second, we need to overcome a feeling of being plastic, and truly stand in our power. That is the unique and grounded experience we can offer.

You only need to stand amongst the pou on Hikurangi, or feed the stingrays at Tatapouri, to feel the power that authentic experience brings.

And lastly, we need to get better at marketing, valuing and charging appropriately for the experience.

Earlier this year our Ngati Konohi whanau welcomed and hosted the BDO national partner group to their annual conference that was held in Tairawhiti. The experience they provided was heartfelt and authentic; it was pure magic. There was humour, beautiful waiata, and a warmth that our visitors took away with them and still talk about today.

As Maori we work on a different time frame paradigm. We are here for the long term. We are often investing owners’ funds, so take a conservative view in how, when and what we invest in.

This positions us well to ensure that any Maori tourism in Tairawhiti will be sustainable, balancing the needs of the People, Planet and Profits.

Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employs 7.5 percent of the country’s workforce. This highlights a very real opportunity for Maori tourism operators, and for our community to build on and grow our offering to the international market.

Tairawhiti has a unique proposition to bring to the tourism market — we are the first place in the world to see the dawning of the new day and, with a large Maori population, we are poised well to pick up this opportunity and run with it. The high-end visitor to New Zealand will pay a premium for a uniquely grounding experience that intertwines Maori ethos, culture and guiding principles.

In Tairawhiti, we have entered a post-settlement phase and, along with land blocks harvesting their forestry assets, for some it is the first time in 30 years they will have cash to invest.

Uniquely Tairawhiti-flavoured Maori tourism

This brings about an opportunity to invest collectively — to collaborate to bring about a uniquely Tairawhiti-flavoured Maori tourism.

The 2017 Maori Development budget has also allocated $10 million to accelerate the growth of Maori tourism.

Often we are unaware of the global thirst for Maori tourism — something genuine, cultural, spiritual and an experience people do not forget, because of its real and obvious connection to the land and relevance to our humanity.

While offshore recently at an indigenous accountants’ forum in Vancouver, I had a chance to see what other indigenous people were doing, how they were investing and in what industries. Most spoke of their heritage assets and the cultural tourism that surrounds them.

What I saw and heard confirmed my belief that in Tairawhiti we are sitting on a golden opportunity; one that has the potential to bring employment and real growth through foreign investment.

There are some very real challenges that need to be traversed for our local entrepreneurial spirit to be unleashed.

One is the capital raising challenge. While not easy, it is also not impossible if you do sound planning so investors can believe and understand your vision and future forecasts.

Second, we need to overcome a feeling of being plastic, and truly stand in our power. That is the unique and grounded experience we can offer.

You only need to stand amongst the pou on Hikurangi, or feed the stingrays at Tatapouri, to feel the power that authentic experience brings.

And lastly, we need to get better at marketing, valuing and charging appropriately for the experience.

Earlier this year our Ngati Konohi whanau welcomed and hosted the BDO national partner group to their annual conference that was held in Tairawhiti. The experience they provided was heartfelt and authentic; it was pure magic. There was humour, beautiful waiata, and a warmth that our visitors took away with them and still talk about today.

As Maori we work on a different time frame paradigm. We are here for the long term. We are often investing owners’ funds, so take a conservative view in how, when and what we invest in.

This positions us well to ensure that any Maori tourism in Tairawhiti will be sustainable, balancing the needs of the People, Planet and Profits.

The high-end visitor to New Zealand will pay a premium for a uniquely grounding experience that intertwines Maori ethos, culture and guiding principles.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the $6 million proposal for Rugby Park, which includes synthetic turf, an athletics track, additional sportsfield, all-weather sports pavilion and conference/function centre?