Māori tourism on show

By Jessica Tyson

Māori tourism is on show this week with the World Indigenous Tourism Summit in Waitangi, an event which attracts indigenous operators and leaders from around the world. 

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta opened the event.  Attendees are set to spend three days discussing economic, environmental, social and political challenges in the industry.

Mahuta says a Māori dimension is crucial to the New Zealand tourism sector.

“While it is hard to ring-fence the economic value of Māori tourism we do know there are some indigenous rock-stars in the industry and plenty of scope for Māori tourism to grow,” she says.

According to the latest annual International Visitor Survey, in 2017 more than 50 percent of 3.7 million overseas tourists engaged in four million Māori tourism experiences - and the industry sees further potential, according to Mahuta.

“Twenty years after the first Treaty of Waitangi settlements, many iwi now have a significant asset base to leverage off and many are choosing to invest in long-term sustainable tourism ventures," says the minister.

“Alongside this has been a proliferation of small to medium Māori tourism enterprises- many of which start off small and are initiated by whānau or family groups”.

Mahuta says, "The conference will help extract the valuable dimension that Māori culture can bring to the industry”.