11 December 2015

NewsLine is a short weekly summary of stories that may be of interest to those involved in the Māori Tourism community.


80-year-old Japanese backpacker melting hearts around NZ

Hiromi Sakamoto could well be New Zealand's oldest backpacker, he speaks very little English, and had not left his home country in more than 50 years before coming to New Zealand.

"I was very busy bringing up my five children - now is a good time for me to travel," he says.

Mr Sakamoto arrived in Auckland two weeks ago, and after staying at a hostel for a few days, he headed off on his own to the north.

After getting to Kawakawa, he was hitchhiking while holding a sign saying "paihia" when he was spotted by staf fof NZ Māori Tourism, who happily picked him up. Watch the story here and join the conversation on facebook here.


Tourists taking plunge buoying NZ's economy

In New Zealand, where cows outnumber people, leaping off a bridge tethered only by a rubber band has better economic prospects than selling milk.

The nation that first commercialised bungee jumping is counting on visitors to sustain growth after dairy exports slumped. Tourism this year might account for as much as half of New Zealand's economic expansion, said Shamubeel Eaqub, an independent economist in Auckland.

"We're starting to see a broad-based recovery in tourism and serious dollars coming into the New Zealand economy," Eaqub said. "If we didn't have that, then economic growth would be a lot lower." Read more here.

Five Kiwi hotspots in travel top ten

TripAdvisor has released its Traveller's Choice Destinations on the Rise for the coming year.

Taupo and Wellington are both in the top ten for the South Pacific, in the list released on Thursday.

The central North Island town has seen the biggest jump in booking interest on the popular travel website, up 35 per cent.

This is closely followed by the capital, which had a 34 per cent spike.

Queenstown, Auckland and Christchurch also made the top ten list, with booking interest consistently growing this year. Read more here.

Guest nights continue rising in October

National guest nights for October 2015 were 2.9 percent higher than in October 2014, Statistics New Zealand said this week.

Most of the rise in October was due to international guest nights in the South Island, supported by domestic guest nights in the North Island.

For October 2015, compared with October 2014:
•    North Island guest nights were up 1.9 percent, and South Island guest nights were up 4.6 percent.
•    Domestic guest nights were up 2.1 percent, and international guest nights were up 4.3 percent.
•    11 of the 12 regional areas had more guest nights.
•    All four accommodation types had more guest nights. Read more here.


Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor sign 25 year lease for Wellington movie museum

Wellington will have a movie museum for at least the next 25 years, with the movie mogul owners committing to the long haul.

On Tuesday, Wellington City Councillors voted unanimously to buy land opposite Te Papa, paving the way for its $134.4 million combined convention centre and movie museum project.

Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor aim to open their museum, situated on the bottom two floors of the new three-storey building, by the end of 2018. Read more here.


Careers NZ boosts support for rangatahi Māori

Careers New Zealand this week released Project Kāmehameha, a summary of research to improve the design and delivery of career resources for Māori.

By 2030, approximately 30% of students – and therefore our future workforce – will be Māori, says Careers New Zealand CEO Keith Marshall.

“It’s important to provide information to rangatahi about their learning and work choices in a way that excites and engages, raises expectations, and increases Māori participation in high growth industries. Read more here.

Funding stalemate while Northland's forests die of neglect

Six weeks after a Forest & Bird video revealed Northland native forests dying of neglect, the Department of Conservation (DoC) has admitted it has no plan or budget to save them and no intention of asking the government for more funding.

DoC manager for Northland Sue Reid made that clear this week to a meeting of the Northland Regional Council's environment committee.

The committee watched a short film made by Forest & Bird, with drone footage of DoC forests most of which have had no pest control for two decades.

The film released in October showed ancient trees that form much of the forest canopy reduced to grey skeletons. Read more here.


Time to take stock as tourism trends upwards

With New Zealand tourism on the upswing, the industry is in a good position to take stock of its future direction, says Lincoln University Professor David Simmons.

According to the just-released State of the Tourism Industry 2015 report, the industry is enjoying very strong growth, although seasonality, changes in visitor markets and skill shortages remain some of the biggest challenges.  

The report summarises the current state and performance of the industry and includes results from a survey of New Zealand tourism businesses. Read more here.

New Zealand's ten most Instagrammed locations revealed

New Zealand's most picturesque spots have kept social media busy this year. Here are the top 10 most photographed Kiwi locations on Instagram from the past year. Read more here.

Meet the guardians of Taranaki

Many of us return to Taranaki with a sense of gratitude and guardianship towards the place of our birth. And nothing symbolizes guardianship more than Mt Taranaki, standing sentinel against the sky, impossible to ignore from any direction.

Also known as Parininihi, the walkway begins at Pukearuhe just north of Urenui and crosses tribal heartland of Ngati Tama and private farmland.

Children returning to the province use the mountain as their navigational tool. The usual bored young traveller's question "are we there yet?" is replaced with excited gasps of "there he is, there he is, our mountain" on emerging from the Awakino Gorge and onto the straights leading to the coastal settlement of Mokau.

Mt Taranaki is thought of as a living being. His mythical origins, as the scorned lover of the beautiful Mt Pihanga (who preferred the adoration of Mt Tongariro), are known by every child in the province. They tell how Toka-a-Rauhotu, the guide stone, led his forlorn friend Mt Taranaki beneath the sea and north up the west coast to seek respite. Read more here.


Regional Economic Activity Report

Explore your region using either the mobile or web app - look at international visits,  visitor spend, economic performance, and more.


Listing on

A presence on can help grow your business by connecting you with consumers considering a visit to New Zealand. A key role of the website is to drive qualified traffic to you. There is no charge for listing on - update your details, or list here.


Planning for Inbound Success

Together with the Tourism Export Council, this is a guide to working with New Zealand Inbound Operators. Read it here, or email us to request a hard copy.