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Tourism taniwha adding culture to commerce

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Tourism taniwha adding culture to commerce

Sharing stories with the world is proving a successful recipe for Māori tourism entrepreneurs around the motu.

NZ Māori Tourism He Toa Takitini has been holding a workshop this week in Hastings, including a Dragon’s Den event that attracted almost 100 applicants.

Winners of the various categories included a plan to replant the Gisborne area with native species, small guided tours in the Whirinaki forest, a Northland marae-based eco-tourism venture aimed at the Chinese market, and the Stay Native online accommodation service.

Māori Tourism deputy chair Dan Walker says there’s a strong social aspect to indigenous tourism, with whanau and communities triwing alongside the business.

"There’s no fear now about us commercialising culture. It's actually about culturalising commerce, infusing our culture into the way we do business, not being afraid of it, embracing it, but making sure we can control the narrative, we ensure we are a part of it and we can thrive from it as well," he says.

Tourism is now New Zealand’s largest export earner.

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