Speech NZ Māori Tourism Dragon’s Den


  • Hūtia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea te kōmako e kō, kī mai ki ahau, he aha te mea nui o te ao, māku e kī atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
  • Kāti rā, tēnā huri noa tātou katoa.
  • E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā hapū kārangaranga, mihi mai rā. E ngā uri o Tahu Pōtiki me tōnā wahine rangatira a Hamo-te-Rangi, tēnei a Tainui waka e mihi kau atu nei.
  • Ka tangi ki ngā tini aituā kei waenganui i a tātou. Ko tātou te kanohi ora e tau nei, ngā mahuetanga iho o rātou mā, tēnā rā tātou katoa. 


  • Tēnā koutou katoa and warm greetings to you all.
  • I acknowledge:
    • The mana whenua of this land, Ngāi Tahu and Ngāi Tūahuriri
    • Our hosts, New Zealand Māori Tourism
    • Māori tourism operators
    • Finalists in the Māori Tourism Dragons’ Den
    • National Party Spokesperson.
  • Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi.  Engari, he toa takitini.
    Success is not in the work of one, but the work of many.
  • Tonight, we reflect on the message of this whakataukī , which is also in the NZ Māori Tourism logo.
  • We acknowledge the success of individuals and individual businesses but we know that many have contributed to that journey with an equal amount of passion, ambition and determination for success.
  • We also acknowledge that tonight is about networking and sharing ideas, and talking about the future of Māori tourism in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Tourism - Macro

  • Tourism is our country’s biggest export industry, contributing to 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.
  • Over the last 10 years, Māori tourism earnings have increased from $0.5bn to $1.97bn.
  • We know there are some kuru pounamu in the industry. Ngāi Tahu are a prime example as the largest tourism operator on the West Coast with a world class experience provided at Franz Josef.
  • There is also plenty of scope for Māori tourism to continue growing adding a unique point of difference to the sector and enhancing the overall tourism experience and the product they are offering.
  • A recent report showed that while we welcome three-million tourists to our shores every year only 54 percent of them reported they have had a unique Māori experience.

A shift to indigenous tourism

  • Globally, tourism is shifting towards a more holistic view of sustainability, authenticity and social outcomes – which are well aligned to Māori business practices.
  • Governments internationally are also recognising that if their indigenous people do well, so does the entire community.
  • In global markets, the distinctiveness of indigenous peoples’ products and services are enabling a competitive advantage from a country perspective with reciprocal opportunities for indigenous operators.
  • Traditional knowledge, values and language sit at the centre of what is distinct and unique.
  • In this context, the opportunities have never been greater for Māori and Māori tourism. To link this perspective to one of our greatest assets –Story telling.
  • If these opportunities are grasped with both hands, through tourism and enterprise, the wellbeing of communities and Māori thrive.
  • The way we link products and provenance, values and business models take on a very different feel.

Māori culture is central to NZ tourism

  • In Māori culture, manākitanga is a strong characteristic of our tourism offerings. This has always characterised who we are as Māori and is a huge draw card for international and local visitors. Our story as a country, what we value and how we share our home and country has taken on the themes of manākitanga and kaitiakitanga.
  • It is the meaningful and genuine people-to-people contact that visitors to our shores enjoy, getting to know our people, our language, our food and culture- the lasting memories that impact on visitors to our shores.
  • I firmly believe that Māori culture is at the heart of tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand  it is the distinguishing feature of the New Zealand visitor experience.
  • I am pleased that 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.

The contribution of Māori tourism businesses

  • Māori tourism businesses are amazing, they:
    • employ whānau (estimated 70,000 Māori employed in tourism, 2017)
    • make a huge contribution to the New Zealand economy
    • are ambassadors of Māori culture to our international visitors
    • operate across the whole country.
  • More and more international visitors are travelling independently and finding high quality experiences online.
  • To keep providing high quality experiences to our manuhiri, Māori tourism businesses need to keep innovating and building their capability.
  • Major events like earthquakes can have drastic effects on visitor numbers and tourism operations. However, the ability of Māori tourism businesses to bounce back from adversity is also vital and Whale Watch Kaikōura is one local example of this resilience in the face of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.
  • It’s important that our businesses are prepared. Quality and capability in your tourism business is what will carry you through.

Māori Tourism Capability Survey

  • The Māori Tourism Capability Survey will identify what Māori tourism businesses need to help build their capability and resilience.
  • The survey also identifies key areas where businesses want support such as understanding visitor markets or product plans.
  • NZ Māori Tourism, Poutama Trust and Te Puni Kōkiri will use the survey results to figure out where they can help you.
  • Having good information means good decisions can be made – funding, investment, employment, infrastructure and education.
  • NZ Māori Tourism implemented a number of initiatives in response to the last Māori tourism survey.  This included the establishment of the QRC Hospitality Management School in Northland.

Looking to the future

  • All in all, we want visitors to have authentic, meaningful and unforgettable experiences so that they can tell others about their time in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • In order to achieve this, we need to work together. We all play important and unique roles in enabling the growth of tourism and at the heart of all this is who we are as Māori – our culture, our values, our language, our food.
  • Government is committed – but when we work together – government, Māori business and whānau – all of our aspirations stand a greater, more powerful chance of truly being achieved.
  • Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi. Engari, he toa takitini.
    Success is not in the work of one, but the work of many




[1]  Source: Stats NZ, 2017

[2] Source: NZTM website