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Horomia - Tourism is Important for Mâori

8 May 2006 (3pm) Speech Notes

Tourism is Important for Mâori Economic Development
NZ Mâori Tourism Council Hui, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

Mihi I had the honour of opening the inaugural conference in Tâmaki Makaurau last year and I am delighted to be back at this years Hui – may there be many more.

I'd like to begin my speech by acknowledging the contribution my colleague the Hon Dover Samuels, Minister of Tourism has made to this portfolio. Being an operator himself has contributed to his understanding of the industry and his ability to work effectively within this portfolio.

Mâori tourism is integral to the sustainable development of New Zealand’s tourism industry because tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner in our economy. Tourism is also one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world – valued at US$623 billion.

There is another crucial reciprocal relationship between Mâori and tourism; that is – tourism is an important contributing factor to Mâori economic growth. Tourism enhances economic development as it cuts across many sectors of the economy for example, retail, construction, transport and telecommunications.
Obviously Mâori economic growth will help to realise Mâori potential and ultimately achieve our aspirations for Mâori succeeding as Mâori.
All of us here today will, can, and do contribute to this.

Mâori Economic Development

Addressing Mâori economic development, whether it is through tourism, agriculture, or business cannot be accomplished without taking into consideration Mâori values as well as the realities of modern Mâori experiences.
I truly believe that tourism will contribute to Mâori economic development through a coordinated sectoral approach by Mâori, which focuses on growing tourism and related businesses based on sound market research.

Tourism is an important source of employment, stimulates enormous investment and can lead to positive cultural awareness and significance.

The most obvious example of "cultural significance, that I can think of is Ngati Tuwharetoa's gift in 1887 of Mounts Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu and Tongariro to the Crown. They became the Tongariro National Park in 1894 and, 99 years later, that park became the world's first World Heritage Landscape of Cultural Significance.
Mâori have been involved in tourism from the kick-off. Whilst Rotorua remains New Zealand's Mâori tourism capital, there is Mâori tourism enterprise from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.
As economies grow, so do levels of disposable income. A large part of this discretionary income is spent on tourism, and we want the world to spend their discretionary income at our ultimate Mâori tourism destinations.

Mâori Tourism Potential

I understand another one of my colleagues the Hon Damien O’Connor, Minister of Tourism, will shortly talk about Mâori tourism and its importance to the tourism sector and the country.

I have hinted at the potential of Mâori tourism and now would like to focus on how it enhances Mâori economic development.
So I want you to think about these questions:

- What do we need to do to grow Mâori tourism?
- What do we need to do to turn that potential into a reality?
- What have we done already?
- What progress have we made?
- What next?

What do we need to do to grow Mâori tourism?

I think the emphasis needs to be in supporting Mâori tourism initiatives and businesses, and ensuring the growth of Mâori employment in tourism.

We need to understand the sources of growth in the tourism market to enable us to use and accentuate our comparative and competitive advantage.

Tourism remains one of the few growth industries that offers employment to both skilled and unskilled workers across a variety of industries.

In 2001, Mâori employed in tourism represented 11% of those working in the industry, we are the fastest growing sector in tourism. For example, during the 10 years before 2001 Mâori employment in tourism increased by 72%. At that time:

- Most worked in the café and restaurant sectors (35%), followed by transport and storage (31%), cultural and recreational services (18%) and accommodation (16%).
- More younger Mâori worked in tourism (44%) compared with non-Mâori (36%).
- The Mâori tourism workforce comprised 9% employers and 91% employees.
These figures are OK, but we can do better!

What are our respective roles for turning Mâori tourism potential into a reality?

I know that each of us here today is really interested in that last figure I mentioned, that is, in 2001 9% of the Mâori tourism workforce were employers.

I think we are here because we want to see more and more successful long-term Mâori tourism enterprises up and running.
The opportunities to do this abound.

- We know this because international tourists who comprise 80-90% of customers for many Mâori tourism businesses drive the demand for Mâori specific products.

- Clearly we need to get more New Zealanders involved in Mâori cultural tourism because in 2001 less than 1% of New Zealand domestic travellers on overnight trips undertook Mâori cultural activities. We can do better!

- There are many opportunities too for development of Mâori tourism products such as Marae visits, Mâori Cultural Performance, Music Concert, and Mâori Art Exhibition. Research undertaken in 2003 found that travellers who have had these experiences rated them more favourably than other indigenous experiences they had elsewhere. We know there are now far wider, more diverse and developed Mâori tourism experiences available than the research suggests. But still, we can do better!

I applaud your commitment to your mahi and for being here today and tomorrow to share your ideas and best practises with each other. I congratulate you on your support of each other's initiatives for developing your business networks and enhancing your business capabilities. Well done.

When I scanned the programme and titles of case studies being presented at this hui I was heartened by the national and international spread of activities and the strategic contributions each makes to develop Mâori tourism. I am looking forward to catching up with many of you later this evening to find out even more about your respective initiatives.

As Minister of Mâori Affairs, I am proud to be part of a Labour-led government that recognises the importance of Mâori tourism for this country because it will help to achieve Mâori economic development and endorses our national identity to our international visitors.

So, what has been done already?

In 2001 Mâori tourism operators were already active and clustered together to form the 13 Mâori Regional Tourism Organisations (MRTOs) all around New Zealand.

Within three years, the MRTOs formalised a national Mâori tourism body headed by the New Zealand Mâori Tourism Council. I congratulate the Council on this your second hui and for bringing together such an impressive array of Mâori tourism people.

Through the Mâori Regional Tourism Programme delivered by Te Puni Kokiri:

- 12 MRTOs were on a three year funding stream – 9 of those MRTOs currently receive an annual $5,000 stipend administered collectively by the New Zealand Mâori Tourism Council;

- the New Zealand Mâori Tourism Council’s $112,000 funding from the government is ongoing;

- there is also a dedicated Specialist Tourism Facilitator based at Te Puni Kokiri; and

- in a joint-venture with the Ministry of Tourism, Te Puni Kokiri also delivers the Mâori Tourism Facilitation service and by the end of June this year aims to mentor 80 Mâori tourism operators.

All of this, combined with your efforts and the commitment of government is producing significant results:
- In 2001 there was no mandated National Mâori tourism organisation. Now there is. We have the Council and it pursues active relationships with industry and other government organisations such as:

o Industry - Aviation Tourism and Travel Training Organisation, Inbound Tour Operators Council, Qualmark and the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand

o Other government agencies - the Ministry of Social Development, Tourism New Zealand, Department of Conservation, and NZ Trade and Enterprise,

- There was no strategic plan in 2001. Now there is. We now have a 5 year strategic plan from 2005-2010 for Mâori tourism;

- 35 Mâori tourism operators are Qualmark licence holders and this is proportionally on a par with non-Mâori tourism operators;

- 50 Mâori tourism operators have made their mark at TRENZ and I do not need to tell you the significance of that event for connecting international buyers with our sellers; and

- More than 70 Mâori tourism experiences are “export ready” and the focus on investing in development will continue.
It’s all good!

But together we can make it even better! And this will benefit our whânau, hapû, and iwi in the realisation of their potential.

Thank you for the opportunity to kôrero with you today.

I know you are seizing with both hands this wonderful opportunity to share your ideas, learn from each other, and to strengthen your networks.

Your success as Mâori, in every level of tourism in New Zealand is our shared success.

Tçnâ koutou katoa.

ENDS

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