2 Apr 2015

Ngai Tahu takes over tourism company

7:01 am on 2 April 2015

Ngāi Tahu Tourism has taken over one of New Zealand's oldest tourism companies which is based in Queenstown.

The Routeburn flat walk in the South Island.

The Routeburn flat walk in the South Island. Photo: Guided Walks NZ / Ngai Tahu Tourism

Guided Walks New Zealand was founded by the Bryant family in 1868 and was formerly owned by Peter and Karyn Hitchman.

It is being merged with the Hollyford Track Guided Walking company also based in Queenstown and also owned by Ngāi Tahu Tourism.

The tribe's Southern Regional Manager David Kennedy said taking tourists on a hīkoi was a part of what the iwi naturally does.

"Part of our portfolio has also been hiking, we've got the Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Aussie Glacier Hiking and our Hollyford Track three day guided walk as well", said Mr Kennedy.

"So it was a bit of a natural extension particularly some of the products that Guided Walks New Zealand had."

He said that because Ngāi Tahu were the tāngata whenua of most of Te Wai Pounamu it had an added cultural advantage by being able to share the South Island's rich history.

"[We've] got all the stories that we can bring into our products and bring some a lot of those stories and legends to life as well for our customers.

David Kennedy

David Kennedy Photo: Supplied

"As well as just the customer care and the manaakitanga [hospitality] that we already show through all of our products".

Mr Kennedy said it meant Ngāi Tahu Tourism could offer more package deals along with its other businesses providing tourists with a wide variety of activities.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism was one of New Zealand's premier tourism operators and the parent company of an extensive portfolio of iconic eco-tourism and adventure experiences.

From high adrenaline thrills to remote and spectacular World Heritage locations, each business offered a range of unique experiences for travellers to and around New Zealand.

South Island operations include Shotover Jet, Dart River Jet and Hollyford Track Guided Walks in Queenstown, and Franz Josef Glacier Guides, and Glacier Hot Pools in Franz Josef.

It also owns four operations in the North Island including, Rainbow Springs and Agrodome in Rotorua and Hukafalls Jet in Taupō.