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E2B Students Visit Kaikoura

Media Release 10 June 2004

E2B Students Visit Kaikoura

Karoro Learning students taking part in The West Coast Development Trust’s Education to Business (E2B) project are visiting Kaikoura this week, as part of their E2B programme.

They are the first group out of a total of 64 students from throughout the West Coast who will make the trip. All E2B students are studying how to set up their own businesses and by visiting Kaikoura, will receive first-hand experience of how local people utilise the natural competitive advantages of their environment.

“We chose Kaikoura because of the similarity between our two regions,” says Jo Hart, education co-ordinator for The West Coast Development Trust’s E2B programme.

“The visit will highlight the importance of eco-tourism to regional economic sustainability — tourism on the West Coast has increased by 27.8% over the last three years, and conservative estimates predict 3.7% growth in the coming year.

“Kaikoura is also an excellent example of how adverse community conditions can be an inspiration for commercial success.”

Jo Hart says the students will learn about the establishment of the famed Whale Watch venture. When it began, relationships between Maori and other Kaikoura townspeople were strained — employment opportunities were scarce and continued economic decline meant Maori youth were the main social casualties. Today, it is the major contributor to the town’s rejuvenated economy and the Ngai Tahu people are held in esteem.

Whale Watch’s dividends are now dedicated to providing education and training for both adults and young people. The E2B students will also visit Ngai Tahu’s marae at Kaikoura, Takahanga, which has been transformed to deliver educational programmes in language, horticulture, marine tourism, forestry, health, youth work and fisheries conservation.

Another learning opportunity is the chance to talk to the originator of local tourism venture success, Maori Tours.

“An important aim of E2B is to celebrate business success, and to challenge young people to think about self-employment as an option in their future,” says Jo Hart.

“We hope our students return with renewed energy for following their own dreams while contributing to future development of the West Coast.”

ENDS

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