Authentic stories please

Authentic stories please

A plea for authenticity was made by new Tourism Minister, Kelvin Davis, at the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Summit, in Wellington last week.

‘Get the right people telling the right stories in the right way; it’s very powerful. I need to say there are some not so genuine people telling not such genuine stories.’

The Minister praised a cruise passenger tour of Northland war sites, guided by a kaumatua who was a descendant of both Hōne Heke and the leader of the British forces, and had great story-telling skills.

‘You could hear the cannon balls flying overhead … his guests were in tears, and they said, you should be charging more for this tour,’ Davis recounts.

As the Minister for both Tourism and Crown/Maori Relations, Davis said there is immense opportunity for Maori to continue to develop tourism businesses around culture, history and stories.  

‘This means potential for tourism to support Maori economic development. The tourism industry can and does leverage off our Māori culture and Māori can leverage off tourism – the question is how do we further promote and nurture these mutual benefits.’

Regional development and infrastructure are also in the Minister’s sights.

‘There are strong synergies between regional economic development and sustainable tourism growth. We know regions need infrastructure; from toilets to car parks to telecommunications.’

Davis said he would be working to source funding for tourism infrastructure from the $1billion annual Regional Development Fund.

The government would also be looking at the funding models for conservation, local government and transport.

‘We’ll be working with the (tourism) sector to see where the money needs to go to ensure we get the best bang for our buck from any funding changes.

‘We want to encourage our visitors to explore less-visited regions. This will allow these regions to grow their economies and create jobs, as well as relieve some of the pressure on the busiest spots.’