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Young Maori Tourism Professional wins top award

Young Maori Tourism Professional wins top national award

The young director of Auckland based Potiki Adventures took out the prestigious PATA Young Tourism Professional Award at the New Zealand Tourism Industry Awards Gala last night in Wellington.

In front of industry colleagues and peers, twenty-nine year old Auckland woman Melissa Crockett was judged the best of the best in the tourism field. Judges described Melissa as a rising star and a true asset to the New Zealand tourism industry.

PATA NZ Trust Chairperson Neil Plimmer said: “The PATA Young Tourism Professional Awards recognise inspiring individuals who are paving the way in the tourism sector. Melissa is an impressive individual who had the entrepreneurial nous to fill a gap in the tourism market.”

Since October 2003, Melissa has worked with her co-director Bianca Ranson setting up and running Potiki Adventures, a Maori tourism business providing day trips with a strong Maori perspective. Melissa was actively involved in all aspects of the business set-up.

Charmaine Barnett, one of Melissa’s nominees, said: “In a short space of time Melissa has developed Potiki Adventures as a leader in cultural tourism. She has targeted and steadily grown significant markets - both the high end individual traveler and the younger adventure traveler.”

Melissa has a background in theatre, both production management and fundraising. She was educated in Taipa and began part-time study towards a BA at Auckland University in 1994. She is currently chairperson of the Te Rakau Hua o Te Wao Tapu Trust in Wellington and in her earlier years was a telephone counsellor with Youthline.

Melissa said: “Being recognised for this award is just fantastic. Setting up your own business on the basis of your belief in bringing experiences that offer a Maori perspective to life is incredibly hard work. I know that our international visitors really rate what we offer but to receive recognition like this from the New Zealand tourism industry means an enormous amount to me.”

Melissa joins previous award recipients Chris Lamers, General Marketing Manager of Positively Wellington Tourism; Malcolm Johns, CEO of InterCity Group Limited; Paul Bingham, CEO of Black Cat Cruises; Richard Wilson; Tourism Holdings Group; and Simon Douglas, formerly Ministry of Tourism and now at Ministry of Transport.

The PATA Young Tourism Professional Award is a scholarship granted by the PATA New Zealand Trust to advance the professional development of emerging talent in the New Zealand tourism industry. PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) is an international organisation committed to sustainable growth and development of the global tourism industry. The PATA Young Tourism Professional Awards is part of the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) annual Tourism Industry Awards and recognises young ‘stars’.


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