15 May 2015

Iwi tourism operation wins top prize

7:28 am on 15 May 2015

Ngāi Tahu Tourism has won the Auckland International Airport Award for Excellence in Tourism at the HSBC China Business Awards.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism Chief Executive, Quinton Hall

Ngāi Tahu Tourism Chief Executive, Quinton Hall Photo: Linkedin

Organised by the New Zealand China Trade Association, the HSBC China Business Awards are held every two years to recognise businesses that are conducting successful Chinese trade.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism said winning the award was a testament to the manaakitanga, or hospitality, of every person in the operation in delivering top quality experiences to its Chinese visitors.

Its general manager of sales and marketing, Stephen Lester, said that aspect fits in well with the Chinese who, like Māori, were all about forming a good relationship first before they do business.

"Interestingly, we've seen a commonality particularly around food, kai where they [Chinese] like to get to know who's behind the company," Mr Lester said.

"[That happens] before they will put their product into your business and that's not just with us, we've noticed it as Ngāi Tahu Tourism, but we also partner with other businesses and we've noticed it there as well."

The Ngāi Tahu Tourism Chief Executive, Quinton Hall, said manaakitanga was a natural part of what the tribe was all about.

"Manaakitanga is the core value that drives the way we do business and that is more than just being an excellent host, it's also about establishing the responsibilities of the host and implies guardianship of the manuhiri (visitors), whenua (land), taonga (treasures), and tangata (the people)."

GM Marketing & Sales at Ngāi Tahu Tourism, Stephen Lester

GM Marketing & Sales at Ngāi Tahu Tourism, Stephen Lester Photo: Linkedin

Mr Hall said it was remarkable that of the 295,000 Chinese visitors to New Zealand in the last 12 months, more than 70 percent were customers of Ngāi Tahu Tourism.

"That's an indication of how important the Chinese market is to us; we rate it very highly," he said.

"We understand that in China, New Zealand is a small, premium destination, so we need to work together to make a difference.

"Ngāi Tahu Tourism looks to partner with other organisations and is also pleased to support the leadership provided by Tourism New Zealand. They're doing a strong job for our industry."

He made special mention of the other finalists in the same award category - Whale Watch Kaikōura and YHA NZ - that he said were doing fantastic work.

"It is especially satisfying to see our whānau at Whale Watch Kaikōura get this recognition for their long-standing excellence in delivery and their role as leaders in sustainable tourism. They are really making a mark on the Chinese tourism market. "

Ngāi Tahu Tourism owns and operates some of the most iconic experiences in New Zealand, including Shotover Jet, Rainbow Springs, Hollyford Track, Dart River, Hukafalls Jet, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Glacier Hot Pools and Agrodome.