National | Māori

Māori tourism gets $8m boost to 'keep the waka steady'

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New Zealand Māori Tourism will receive an $8 million funding injection to "keep the waka steady" post-Covid and enable operators to adapt to a changing environment, Māori development minister Willie Jackson and associate minister Nanaia Mahuta announced Thursday.

Spread over the next four years, the investment in the independent body which leads the Māori tourism sector acknowledges the on-going challenges faced by the industry and the significant contribution Māori make to tourism.

“This investment is needed to help keep the waka steady during these turbulent times,” Jackson said in a joint release, adding that Māori enterprises offer some of the best examples of indigenous tourism in the world.

“It will help the industry continue to recover from Covid-19 disruptions, and also to meet increasing demand as international travel resumes.”

The funds build on the $15 million invested in budget 2021 and will enable marketing advice, expertise and other business and compliance support to be provided to the Māori tourism sector.

Supporting Māori tourism in this way enables Māori operators to take a leadership role in how visitors experience Aotearoa, said Mahuta.

“Māori culture is at the heart of our visitor experience," she said.

“The Māori tourism industry employs thousands of people and cares for some of our most globally renowned tourism attractions.

“While the effects of Covid-19 have been devastating for many, some have seen this as an opportunity to adapt their business to the changing environment.

“This investment will help ensure a future for Māori tourism that strengthens regional economies for the ultimate benefit of local whānau and manuhiri."