Opening of the South Pacific Tourism Exchange
OPENING OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC TOURISM EXCHANGE
Thursday 9 May 2019
GRAND MILLENIUM HOTEL, AUCKLAND
Ka tangi te tītī, ka tangi te kākā, ka tangi hoki aha e tū atu nei.
E ngā manu tīkaokao ō ngā hau e whā, o ngā motu katoa puta noa i te ao, karapinepine mai rā, rarau mai rā ki te tēnei hui whakamana i ngā pākihi iwi taketake o te ao.
Kawea mai ngā parekawakawa kei runga ia koutou, kia tangihia.
Kawea mai ngā kōrero me ngā whakapapa o ia iwi o ia iwi, kia rangatira ai tō tātou hui.
Kia pārekareka te kai mā te hinengaro hei kawea atu ki ngā iwi katoa o te ao.
Nōreira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā huri noa tātou katoa.
Malo e lelei
Ni sa bula vinaka
Fakaalofa lahi atu
Aloha mai e
Tēnā koutou katoa, Meitaki Maata
and warm Pacific Greetings
- I wish to acknowledge:
- the mana whenua of this land, Ngāti Whātua,
- our hosts, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and New Zealand Māori Tourism,
- ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development),
- South Pacific and Māori tourism operators, and
- tourism buyers from Aotearoa and across the world
- What a wonderful occasion this is, for Māori and Pacific tourism operators to meet with tourism buyers both from Aotearoa and the world to promote their tourism offerings!
- I acknowledge the close whanaungatanga and cultural connectedness between Māori and Pasifika
- Thank you for inviting me to give a keynote speech for the Opening of the South Pacific Tourism Exchange here in Auckland
- The Māori proverb I have just shared with you speaks of the tītī, or Short-tailed Shearwater bird, which migrates annually to the north to the northern hemisphere and then returns again to Aotearoa New Zealand each year. I am reminded that in Māori tradition, birds, or manu, were traditionally considered as messengers to convey special messages
- As you attend the South Pacific Tourism Exchange, regardless of whether you are from a distant land or from one of the four corners of this land, you are one of these messenger birds, here to convey the experiences and messages of your peoples and take back the messages you will gain here through this conference to share with your peoples
- It is events such as these that provide a platform for the most influential indigenous business leaders, thought leaders and inspiring speakers to come together to discuss indigenous tourism development and strengthen our global indigenous ties
Tourism - Macro
- Tourism is our country’s biggest export industry, contributing 21 percent of New Zealand’s foreign exchange earnings – earning around $34 billion to the country’s economy every year 
- Our tourism industry continues to grow, directly and indirectly employing 14.5 percent of our workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand
- While it is hard to ring-fence the economic value of Māori and Pasifika tourism, we do know there are some indigenous rock-stars in the industry and plenty of scope for Māori and Pasifika tourism to grow
- A recent report showed that while we welcome three-million tourists to our shores every year only 54% of them reported they have had a unique Māori experience
The time is now
- The mainstream tourism community is shifting towards a more holistic view, encompassing themes of sustainability, authenticity and social outcomes – which are well aligned to a Pacific way of doing business
- Internationally, governments are recognising that if their indigenous people do well, so does the entire community
- The same is true for Aotearoa New Zealand.
- In global markets, the products and services we offer provides a distinct and unique edge – that is culture!
- Our mātauranga, the way we ‘do business’, the why factor and how it feeds back into broader wellbeing aspirations is I believe an x-factor.
- Opportunities have never been greater for our people and tourism is an increasing area of opportunity as visitors want more authentic experiences.
- If these opportunities are grasped with both hands, my vision is that we can get to a place where through enterprise, we are able to secure the wellbeing of our communities.
Culture is the heart of tourism
- In Māori and Pasifika cultures, hospitality, or manaakitanga, is a defining characteristic of our tourism offerings. This has always characterised who we are as Polynesian kin and a huge draw card for international and local visitors.
- It is the meaningful and genuine people-to-people contact that visitors are looking for, to know our people, our languages, our food and cultures.
- Authenticity and an insight to what makes our country a special place. I firmly believe that culture is at the heart of tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
- It helps that we are looking to ensure Māori values are New Zealand’s values – with that comes a certain responsibility.
- Tourism ventures owned and operated by Māori and Pasifika peoples are also a powerful means of rangatiratanga or self-determination.
- This approach builds on our values in such a way that we can tell our stories in our own way that gives meaning to who we are and what we value.
- Another significant benefit of tourism for Māori and our Pacific Island cousins is employment. The ability to retain, or to encourage our young people to return home to work and use their talents has a huge ‘plus side’ advantage.
- In 2017, nearly 70,000 Māori were employed in the industry representing a 5 per cent increase on the previous year (Stats NZ). There remain gaps in the levels of remuneration between Māori and non-Māori, and between male and female and this is a challenge for us collectively.
- Māori tourism providers are also vertically integrating their interest by broadening their offers, from food and beverage, to accommodation, experiences and transport.
- Twenty years after the first Treaty of Waitangi settlements, many iwi now have significant asset base to leverage off and many are choosing to invest in long-term sustainable tourism ventures.
- Alongside this has been a proliferation of small to medium tourism enterprises – many of which start of small and are initiated by whānau or family groups.
- In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Māori Development in 2014, more than 100 Māori tourism operators indicated their desire to expand their business and to look to future markets so they could understand what they need to do to develop and grow. 
- New Zealand Māori Tourism provides a range of advice for Māori tourism operators from start-ups to those who are export ready. It is important that we recognise where businesses are at and tailor support accordingly.
- Our Government recognises that the Māori economy will be a big driver of economic development in our regions and will impact directly on improving wellbeing outcomes.
- The bulk of the contribution in the tourism sector will comprise of small to medium size business. The opportunity space is an integrated network of tourism products that can build and scaffold to our story, our culture, our values and provenance that ‘Real’ point of difference.
- We want visitors to have meaningful and unforgettable experiences so that they can tell others about their time in Aotearoa New Zealand and our respective Pacific nations.
- In order to achieve this, we need to work together with all relevant stakeholders. We all play important and unique roles in enabling the growth of tourism in our respective nations.
- I wish you well as you discuss and progress the varied issues and opportunities presented at this Forum and into the future.
- It is important that we continue the conversations after this Forum – so don’t be shy to introduce yourselves.
- I look forward to hearing the results of your kōrero.
- Nō reira kia ora koutou katoa!
 Source: Stats NZ, 2017
 Source: Māori Tourism Capability Assessment Report (2014)
 Source: NZTM website