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Tourism pioneers recognised in Honours list

Media Statement

Tourism pioneers recognised in Honours list

Tourism Minister Mark Burton is delighted that two of New Zealand's tourism pioneers have received top honours in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

"The announcement that 'Guide Bubbles' - Dorothy Huhana Mihinui - and Les Hutchins are to be Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZM) is a fitting and well-deserved recognition of their contributions," Mark Burton said.

"Bubbles guided visitors through Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Village for more than 60 years. It was a job she was literally born to – the village was her home.

"Her warm welcoming smile and intimate knowledge of tikanga Maori became world famous. Her approach was learnt from her father – to treat everyone as she would like to be treated. That simple philosophy is one that all those involved in the tourism sector should strive to follow."

Mark Burton said that Les Hutchins's family business Fiordland Travel, had grown over half a century to become one of New Zealand's truly iconic tourism companies.

"In the early 1950s Les, supported by his wife Olive, had a vision to showcase for visitors the awesome beauty and tranquillity of Fiordland. From humble beginnings, Fiordland Travel has developed into a major tourism player, with more than 250 staff at peak times and 400,000 clients every year.

"Les Hutchins and Bubbles have also been leaders for tourism in New Zealand through their recognition of the importance of combining a quality visitor experience with genuine respect for the environment.

"Environmentally sustainable tourism is now a common objective across New Zealand, and we would not have reached that point without the example and leadership of pioneers like Bubbles and Les. Everyone involved in the tourism sector owes them a great debt," Mark Burton said.


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