1 Nov 2018

'It is our role and responsibility to lead the way'

7:33 pm on 1 November 2018

Travellers are being encouraged to act as guardians of New Zealand as part of a cross-sector initiative.

Kelvin Davis at the launch of the Tiaki Promise campaign.

Kelvin Davis at the launch of the Tiaki Promise campaign. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Tiaki - Care for New Zealand encourages New Zealanders and visitors to experience the country in a way that keeps everyone safe, protects the environment and respects culture.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced the initiative in Wellington this afternoon, calling for the Tiaki Promise to care and protect to be upheld.

"New Zealanders have a unique connection to our home, and we have a collective duty to care for our country. Tiaki - Care for New Zealand is about helping everyone, including our visitors, feel that same sense of guardianship," Mr Davis said.

"Together, we can protect the things that make New Zealand special and help ensure they last for future generations."

The announcement was on behalf of the group, which includes Air New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Local Government New Zealand, New Zealand Māori Tourism, Tourism Holdings Ltd, Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Tourism New Zealand.

New Zealand Māori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan said visitors could share the sense of guardianship by acknowledging the country's values.

"As tangata whenua, it is our role and responsibility to lead the way in respecting and protecting our land, environment, and culture for future generations. That is kaitiakitanga, and it is vital," Ms Tyson-Nathan said.

"The Tiaki Promise serves as a reminder to all Aotearoa New Zealanders that we are collectively responsible for looking after our environment."

More projects, including a driver safety campaign, will be rolled out under the Tiaki brand later this year.

The Tiaki Promise will be promoted by the stakeholders to their customers, trade partners and staff as well as online.

Local Government New Zealand spokesperson Steve Chadwick, who is the Rotorua Lakes Council mayor, said councils were at the forefront of managing their communities needs with increasing visitor numbers.

"The Tiaki Promise promotes many of the values that councils and communities hold dear, that we see as common sense - guardianship of our resources and environment, leaving only footprints, camping in the right areas, driving carefully, and being a role model for positive behaviour," Ms Chadwick said.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said tourism was the country's highest value export with increasing international tourist and domestic visitor numbers.

"This represents an incredible opportunity for our country but it's important we take responsibility as an industry for managing this growth and protecting the things that make New Zealand so special," Mr Luxon said.

Tourism New Zealand is putting up $130,000, $15,000 of which comes from i-Site funding - for the initiative, which was created in collaboration with major tourism industry bodies.

That money includes the creation of assets and resources to be shared with industry, but it was Air New Zealand which funded the initial development of the project.

Other public and private sector organisations are contributing too. Examples include inflight videos, co-branding on Department of Conservation experiences and at i-Sites, through to hotels and motor-home companies promoting the Tiaki messaging.

Tourism Industry chief executive Stephen England-Hall said it's a way of creating an expectation for how tourists should behave while travelling New Zealand.

"We want people to look after our home. And one of the things we realised in our research is that the gap between how New Zealanders behave and how visitors behave, is simply a set of expectations."

This is one of their channels to do that, he said, and it won't be mandated or forced on tourists, rather "ever-present."

"It's more about being pervasive and everywhere in the tourism ecosystem, our visitor will not be able to escape it. But then again neither will us as Kiwis because we are also visitors in our own country at times. And so Tiaki becomes a way, or a set of guiding principals about what we expect from people," Mr England-Hall said.