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NZ'sLeading Tourism Icon Renamed 'Te Puia'

News Release
For Immediate Release

New Zealand's Leading Tourism Icon Renamed 'Te Puia'

The country's most popular tourism icon The New Zealand Maori Arts And Crafts Institute has today launched its new name – 'Te Puia'.

The new brand and development plans were announced at an official launch onsite in Rotorua at midday.

Te Puia chief executive Andrew Te Whaiti was joined at the launch by Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton and Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters.

Tourism industry players and media travelled from throughout the country to be among the first to view the new name and development plans.

Meaning 'geyser' or 'geothermal', Te Puia is the name of the hill behind the famous Pohutu – the world's most easily accessible geyser.

Andrew Te Whaiti says Te Puia has always been a place of sanctuary and now its name is used in association with protecting traditional Maori arts, crafts and culture.

"In times of threat, the people of Whakarewarewa would retreat to the safety of Te Puia, which is ringed by a moat of boiling water and mud – a dangerous place for any attacking party who didn't know the area," Te Whaiti says.

The new name brings with it an entire rebranding process, where Te Puia will become the umbrella name for the three distinct experiences on offer. The branding brief required looking from within and the past, to find the path forward.

Te Whaiti says it's important people realise 'The New Zealand Maori Arts And Crafts Institute' name has not been completely lost, but repositioned as one of the three sub-brands.

"Before there was no distinction between the educational and training aspects of the carving school and the visitor attractions. Most visitors thought they were seeing a carving display rather than a working school set up to protect traditional Maori arts," Te Whaiti says.

"By separating the carving and weaving schools from the other attractions, while still retaining The New Zealand Maori Arts And Crafts Institute name, we have clearly positioned it as a school of higher learning."

Te Puia's redevelopment plans include an enlarged working space for the carving and weaving schools and a new exhibition gallery.

Te Whaiti says the three sub-brands will make it easier to market the destination to appropriate audiences.

"The geothermal valley and cultural experiences on offer at Te Puia are the biggest drawcards for tourists, however not all international travellers are interested in both.

"Tourists from countries with extensive cultural backgrounds – such as India and Australia – are often here to see the geothermal valley and Pohutu, which to them is a spectacular site.

"English tourists on the other hand are fascinated by Maori culture. By separating the three aspects of Te Puia we can market ourselves more appropriately to the various tourist markets."

Today's rebrand launch will be followed by a series of international Te Puia launches during the coming weeks in Australia, America, England, Europe and Japan.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton says developments such as Te Puia are welcome within the industry.

"The sorts of people Tourism New Zealand is targeting to attract to New Zealand are very interested in Maori culture, and are seeking an authentic and genuine exposure to it. Te Puia offers the kind of experience these visitors are looking for."

ENDS

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