A Community Can Have Tourism, but Tourism Can’t Have a Community

Taupo1 | eTurboNews | eTN

The Māori people are the original Polynesian inhabitants of mainland New Zealand. They can trace their origins back to settlers from East Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand through multiple canoe voyages between approximately 1320 and 1350.

Matariki, in Māori culture, represents the Pleiades star cluster and is commemorated when it first appears in the sky during late June or early July. This event signifies the initiation of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.

Rotorua Airport is strategically located on the banks of Lake Rotorua, offering stunning views of the renowned Mokoia Island. As a significant entry point, it provides easy access to both the Central North Island and the surrounding region, making it an ideal starting point for exploration.

Sitting on the shore of Lake Rotorua, with the iconic Mokoia Island in the background, Rotorua Airport is a key gateway, perfectly placed for exploring the region and the Central North Island. 

Yesterday, the Maori Tourism Conference was held in Taupo, New Zealand. Taupo is a town located near the center of New Zealand’s North Island and is known for its scenic lakefront and various outdoor activities such as fishing and jet-boating.

The expansive Lake Taupo, which is a volcanic caldera, feeds into the breathtaking Huka Falls, a series of crystal-blue cascades that can be reached through hiking and biking trails. In the vicinity of Taupo, there are also hot springs similar to those found in the Craters of the Moon reserve.

Judy Kepher-Gona from Kenya, and Founder of STTA Kenya gave the keynote opening address to this event.

The conference has brought together more than 300 Indigenous tourism businesses and organizations from New Zealand, Canada, USA under the theme HE KURA TAWHETI.

Here are some key points Judy shared at this conference.

Judy | eTurboNews | eTN
A Community Can Have Tourism, but Tourism Can't Have a Community
  • A community can have tourism, but tourism can’t have a community.
  • Tourism’s addiction to growth is a threat to places and community livelihoods.
  • Tourism will remain a contested economy as long as host / indigenous communities remain displaced from opportunities.
  • Tourism and policy cannot replace the stewardship role played by communities in safeguarding places because the relationship with the place is both physical and spiritual.

The evening featured a stunning 12-minute light and sound show with 160 drones depicting the story of Matariki lighting up the night sky above Rotorua Airport.

“Matariki symbolizes new beginnings and shared hopes for the future and serves as a powerful reminder of the symbiotic bonds within our industry as a whole,” Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins said.

Hundreds of buyers from New Zealand and Australia were hosted in Rotorua at the meeting. Tourism Zealand in conjunction with the local convention bureaux and partners brought 18 buyers – eight from North America, five from Southeast Asia, and three from Hong Kong – in association with Air New Zealand.

Taupo2 | eTurboNews | eTN
A Community Can Have Tourism, but Tourism Can't Have a Community

With over 60 Grade 3 roller-coaster rapids, a rafting trip on the Tongariro is a must for visitors. Wind through pristine forests & volcanic landscapes near Turangi. You may be lucky and catch a glimpse of the ‘whio’, New Zealand’s rare native blue duck in its traditional home.

About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Share to...