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First NZ tourism attraction to gain certification

For Immediate Release

4 July, 2014

First NZ tourism attraction to gain certification

Rotorua’s Te Puia became the first visitor attraction in New Zealand to have staff certified in rural skills today, with its Environment Team members presented with a National Certificate in General Skills Agriculture (Level 2) – Primary Sector.

The Primary ITO, New Zealand’s largest industry training organisation, officially presented the certificates this morning, after 12 months of training on and off-site. The qualification included training in the use of chemicals; driver training for tractors, forklifts and quad bikes; chainsaw use and health and safety.

Te Puia’s Environment Team are responsible for all maintenance across the 70 hectare geothermal site, including horticulture, hygiene and the conservation of native flora and fauna. Part of their role has involved the removal of undergrowth to expose natural geothermal features, with an ongoing focus on ensuring pathways are clear and safe for visitors.

One of those who qualified today was Environment Supervisor, Mariana Te Rangi, who says working towards the certificate has developed a sense of whanaungatanga (kinship) within the team, while at the same time, creating a safe working environment and a sense of pride which is obvious in the team’s increased confidence.

“On a daily basis, our team operate machinery and quad bikes typically used in the agriculture industry and often in more varied conditions than farming.

“There are more quad bike deaths in Aotearoa than any other type of off-road vehicle so although our team could already operate these bikes, using them safely is absolutely critical due to the unique environment at Te Puia.

“We work around erupting geysers, hot springs, boiling mud and an ever-changing landscape. The training we have undertaken not only safeguards staff, but also manuhiri (visitors) and Te Puia as an organisation.”

Te Puia Human Resources Manager, Denise Emery, says the certification acknowledges the Environment Team’s skills are as advanced as those of farm and forestry workers and recognises the importance of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce in a unique and ever-changing geothermal environment.

She says the certification is a significant development for Te Puia and New Zealand, with the organisation now leading the way in tourism industry safety.

“Part of our mandated responsibility is the kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of this site and Te Whakarewarewa Valley and this training will further support this work, while at the same time ensuring that we keep our people and manuhiri safe.

“Our Environment Team are critical to the smooth running of our operation and the fulfilment of our mandate. They have embraced this opportunity to develop their skills and have something tangible to show for it. We are all very proud of them.”

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