Wider tourism discussion needed for Auckland

Press Release – Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei says wider tourism discussion needed for Auckland
16 July 2018

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust says that opportunities for Māori tourism across the entire Auckland region should be explored thoroughly before any discussion on a potential sculpture takes place.

Deputy Chair Ngarimu Blair says the iwi is undertaking its own feasibility studies into possible tourism initiatives and any debate on initial ideas is premature.

“Our iwi development arm has raised with the Council and local boards the idea of a culturally significant icon for Tāmaki Makaurau, as part of a wider discussion on tourism and future opportunities,” he says.

“Takaparawhau / Bastion Point is a significant place for our iwi, and for all who visit and live here. But any sculpture idea is just that – an idea in its infancy.

“The Trust believes that any potential sculpture or pou would have to be something that we can all be proud of, and that is well thought through.

“We would need to see a full proposal and consider this in a wider context before deciding to take the idea any further.”

The Trust says there is huge untapped potential in Māori tourism in Auckland, which could add significantly to the economy of the region, attracting investment and providing employment. It is working with a number of tribes on a wider strategy to make the most of 2021 with the America’s Cup, APEC and hosting Matatini.

“Auckland Council has recognised this potential by making available some funding to explore opportunities,” Mr Blair says.

“It’s great that Council has the foresight to consider supporting initiatives that will give tourists a unique and memorable experience of Māori culture in Tāmaki Makaurau.

“Clearly, to take any idea forward the business case would need to stack up, and at this stage more preliminary work is needed to be able to assess the opportunity.”

Mr Blair says that Minister Jones’ comments today are at the front end of a conversation that has many turns to go.

“We welcome Minister Jones into the wider discussion on tourism for the whole region in his role as Minister for Regional Development.

“We can assure the Minister and all New Zealanders that if an idea proves to be workable, then we would of course begin to have a conversation with Aucklanders and all those with an affiliation,” Mr Blair says.

ENDS

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