Destinations

“It’s much more than Hobbits and big mountains”: Here’s how you SHOULD sell New Zealand

Ali Coulton

Generally speaking, when travellers plan a trip to New Zealand they probably have two things in mind: Hobbits and mountains.

We got a rude shock when we found out there were no real Hobbits frolicking through the hills of Matamata, but maybe that says more about us than the destination…

Ja2vZs3

While attending the Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) MEETINGS trade show last week, we had the pleasure of chatting with Karl Wixon, who is the ‘Kaiārahi Māori’ for New Zealand Story.

New Zealand Story is a government-funded program focusing on how the New Zealand tourism industry shares the story of their country with the rest of the world.

Wixon told us they’re trying to move people’s perception beyond Hobbits and big mountains.

My role within New Zealand Story is actually bringing to the surface the Maori side of things and how that becomes part of our national identity and culture and the way we engage and connect,” Wixon told us. 

“It’s not just something we show, its also about how we act, how we greet, how we do all of these things.”

“It’s up to me to find that essence and how we celebrate it. It’s about moving beyond, not leaving behind, the Haka, Hongi, Hangi and Pukana.”

I say that not to belittle these things, these are powerful things but they become the default setting and the default image of Maori which is a very narrow point of view of the culture and all its shades of brown.”

According to Wixon, there has been a big shift in the way Māori tourism operates. He said that the one-dimensional displays of cultural entertainment, or dial-a-Hakka as he called it, reflect a sense of colonial quaintness.

“If you look at early colonial images of Maori its kind of that portrayal as warriors and maidens with lovely children and a lot of that has been mirrored.”

I’m not at all belittling things like those customs and traditions but they’re only one part of a broader offering. Sometimes those things are a contemporary stretch from tradition.”

Wixon said contemporary Māori tourism operators often simply reflect the values and traditions of their culture.

And tourism operators from all walks of life could learn a thing or two from them.

I get sick of tourism opperators talking about their products because you don’t deliver tourism products, you deliver products to help deliver an experience.”

“What you’re doing is you’re experience producers. Maori are very good at experience. Making the hair on the back of your neck tingle, making you feel a bit of love,  making you laugh, that’s the stuff you remember.”

“You’ve got amazing Maori tourism operators but you wouldn’t see their business necessarily as Maori tourism, like the guy that runs Crankworkx and does VIP hosting in Rotorua, which is a very Maori business when you scratch beneath the surface. The way he thinks, the way he hosts, the way he engages, its very Maori. But it’s not being portrayed with the typical Maori imagery.”

Wixon said New Zealand Story is working alongside Tourism New Zealand to switch the narrative of how the country is portrayed to the world.

It’s now less about place and more about people.

I think earlier it would be fair to say New Zealand Story probably saw the job as selling New Zealand. Now it’s about selling New Zealanders.”

“It’s about bringing to life the way others view us; the third party perspective. It’s not about standing out and proclaiming our virtues, it’s about seeing how others see value in us as New Zealand.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Three more Aussie cities “within flying range” for Cebu Pacific, says commercial chief

by Huntley Mitchell

Travel Weekly sat down with the Filipino carrier’s commercial VP to chat about its Australian expansion plans. And, much to our delight, he brought us some burgers from Jollibee.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: New country managers for Tourism Australia, Scoot and Tauck + MORE!

New country managers are the flavour of this week in the travel industry. Peruse all the latest hires here.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Virtuoso CEO cancels Aussie trip amid coronavirus concerns as travel ban extended

Matthew Upchurch was scheduled to speak at the MTA conference over the weekend, but cancelled his trip yesterday.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

‘It’s Out There’: Destination NSW shines spotlight on Broken Hill and Central Darling region in new campaign

Destination NSW has embraced its inner drag queen to promote one of the state’s most ‘out there’ regions.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Contiki offers 29 per cent off 29 tours on 29th February

If you think Travel Weekly is only running this story to try and blag a free Contiki trip, you’d be absolutely, 100 per cent correct.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Sir Richard Branson rewards truckie with free cruise

The man sent a tweet to Virgin’s CEO asking if he remembered a good deed he performed for him a decade ago. His response has sent Twitter into a frenzy.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

COOKIEGATE: United freaks out flying community by temporarily axing cult cookie

As avid cookie fans, we can totally empathise with the passengers’ concerns and would have written a strongly-worded letter had the airline not amended its mistake.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent Wrap: Wendy Wu’s mega-famil, AAT Kings gives back to locals, Flight Centre helps deaf community + MORE!

This week’s Agent Wrap is so full of famil opportunities and incentives that Travel Weekly staff are considering retraining as travel agents to get in on the action.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

The Women in Travel Awards are back!

Attention all talented and hard-working industry females: it’s time to start working on your entry for this year’s Women in Travel Awards!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air New Zealand fires back at Qantas with new safety video of its own

by Ali Coulton

The Kiwi carrier just launched a new safety clip starring a little girl in gumboots, a large CGI bird, a robot, and a big fuzzy green guy. It’s equal parts cute and cringey.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: Hawaii to host historic festival, Oahu hotels update, Hawaiian Airlines’ punctuality + HEAPS MORE!

Looking to avoid doing any actual work this afternoon? The Aloha Friday Wrap is the perfect alibi.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines marks 16 consecutive years as most punctual US carrier

Hawaiian Airlines remained North America’s most punctual carrier in 2019, according to the US Department of Transportation.

Share

CommentComments