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Year 13 Tourism - Adventure on the Kaituna River
Photo by Kay Asplin


Karena Ngata —


Tourism continues to be a resilient and relevant option for study and career pursuits in Aotearoa New Zealand. The industry (and study pathways) have had to adapt to our Covid-19 reality, and this has presented challenges, however, Tourism has faced global challenges before and has always bounced back. This comes down to the fact that it is in our human nature to seek out experiences and to create new memories.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, prior to Covid-19, most of our tourism expenditure (60% or $23.7 billion) was domestic. Domestic spending on Tourism has increased an additional $1.1 billion in the nine months from May 2020 to March 2021 (TNZ). This means that one of the most important ways the industry is adapting, is to tailor their products to the domestic market, which includes developing educational experiences for young New Zealanders. In addition, some providers are reporting that the drop in international visitor numbers is providing the physical environments of some of our most treasured natural attractions with a much needed break from the relentless hordes of international tourists that were visiting our shores.

As the Queenstown Resort College “Positive Futures” publication states, once our borders open again to International visitors, New Zealand will continue to be a popular destination for travellers. “Our scenery, culture and laid-back friendly character makes New Zealand a must-do travel experience. Our handling of the current [Covid-19] crisis will instil a high level of trust in visitors”. So now is a great time to be studying Tourism – as you will be well placed to enter the industry at a middle management level when the predicted return (if not surge!) of visitors comes back to New Zealand shores. View the QRC “Positive Futures” publication here: http://www.qrc.ac.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/QRC-Positive-Futures-Brochure-2020.pdf

Image by: Karena Ngata

Our Year 13 Tourism students have been studying the ways local providers are working to adapt to the domestic market. Rotorua Rafting’s (RR) Sam Sutton and RR staff provided an incredible experience for them earlier this year, one which showcased how a local provider is working with tangata whenua to ensure the provision of a safe, culturally and environmentally responsible adventure on the Kaituna River. Afterwards, students had an opportunity to contribute to Rotorua Rafting’s kaupapa of Kaitiakitanga by planting up hundreds of native seeds to go into the RR nursery, an activity destined to contribute to the stability and biodiversity of the Kaituna river banks. 

Image by: Karena Ngata

Assisting our Year 13s with building their kete of knowledge around Kaitiakitanga, Mauri, the history of the Tutea falls and the Kaituna, was Matua Kepa Morgan, ex-CEO of Ngāti Pikiao, who introduced our students to his “mauri0meter” – a culturally responsive impact assessment tool he devised to determine sustainability. He mihi tino nui ki a koe Matua mō tō koha whakamārama.

Image by: Karena Ngata

Visit http://mauriometer.org to find out more about Matua Kepa’s framework.

Image by: Karena Ngata

Our Year 12 Tourism students recently visited the site of local Canopy Tours operations (the Dansey Park Scenic Reserve) in the Mamaku. During the three-hour zip line “Original” tour, guides explained the ecological restoration projects at the reserve and educated our students about their efforts to preserve the flora and fauna in the 500ha virgin forest. Students bore witness to the results of the kaitiakitanga activities Canopy Tours have undertaken in consultation with DOC and local Iwi to safeguard this forest taonga and attract and protect endangered native birds and wildlife.

Image by: Karena Ngata

Both Tourism Operators provided our students with an example of how a Tourism business enterprise can positively impact on the physical environment, can successfully tap into the ECO-Tourism market, successfully pivot their business marketing and product in response to Covid-19, all whilst working alongside iwi to incorporate and uphold Māori concepts and values such as kaitiakitanga, mana whenua, taonga, mauri and tapu. Ka mau te wehi!

Finally, our recent visit and tour of the prestigious Pullman Rotorua Hotel was an introduction to possibilities for many students who may not have considered before the perks of working for an internationally renowned Hotel chain such as ACCOR.

Image by: Karena Ngata

TIC Tourism  -   Karena Ngata