Hawke's Bay to unlock Māori tourism potential

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Hawke's Bay Māori Tourism are hoping to tap into the $1.8mil set aside by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to fund tourism.

"You look at current tourism stats and a lot of people coming to NZ [are] indicating they want to be a part of the culture. they wanna have a unique experience with Māori and I suppose with Hawke's Bay Māori Tourism. that's what they'll get from our members," says Peter Eden of Hawke's Bay Māori Tourism.

New Zealand has over three million tourists every year and 54 percent say they had a unique Māori experience during their stay.

"We're really keen to build Māori tourism up in Hawke's Bay because we're not strong in it.  Our tourism is sort of based on white, middle class 'come in and drink wine and do other things', so we do want to have Māori tourism especially in places like Wairoa," says Rex Graham, chairman of Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

But it all comes down to money with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council funding tourism with $1.8mil.  Hawke's Bay Māori Tourism want a cut.

"We wouldn't support them outside the current funding to tourism financially," says Graham, "We wouldn't do that- our funding to tourism is $1.8 million, and is now $1.5 million, and that is as far as we're going to go in terms of the total funding.  So, if we fund Māori tourism separately it's going to come out of that fund". 

"TPK and MSD have been very supportive and acknowledge that they've given but moving forward- now that we're in that international scene and trying to create regional development- we're looking at other opportunities to source some resources for us to build for the future," says Eden.

The new funding would grow their international presence following an MOU signed with China and with another tourism trade deal with Taiwan potentially in the works.