Maori Authenticity - A Key To NZ's Tourism Future
Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said authenticity of Maori culture will be a key to the successful future of New Zealand's tourism industry.
Speaking at the annual New Zealand tourism conference in Rotorua, Mr Horomia said he hoped the tourism industry can recognise the benefits that Maori bring to products for domestic and international visitors.
"In an increasingly competitive international market, visitors are looking for niche products, and attractions that are unique. Maori can deliver that uniqueness for the New Zealand tourism market."
And Mr Horomia said international tourists now expect a quality and level of service that is greater than at any time in the past.
"We, as hosts, can and must deliver that service but it must be in a way that is genuine, warm, reflects our unique culture and incorporates our spirit of manaakitanga (hospitality)."
The Minister of Maori Affairs reiterated a message he delivered to the Waka Toi annual Maori art awards, about the need to prevent the culturally-offensive use of Maori art.
"Maori designs and imagery have often been used and abused by others, for commercial purposes and without benefit to Maori. Finding the right balance of using traditional knowledge as the basis for contemporary work is a challenge in the art industry as well as the tourism industry."
Mr Horomia said Maori will benefit from the development of the industry as more Maori participate, are employed and take an equity stake in it.
"The industry has an exciting future, that promises much for Maori, and can benefit so much from Maori input too".