Ngai Tahu Tourism.
I don't know about you but for me when I think of Ngai Tahu Tourism i don't think of a group of tourism businesses owned by Ngai Tahu, i think of tourism businesses related to Ngai Tahu.
Within this nest we have a range of tourism businesses with no connection to Ngai Tahu, other than we own them. i think that is wrong and needs fixing, and here are my ideas.
Firstly, there is nothing wrong with the current structure but let's change the name so that there is no confusion about what this nest of businesses is and what they aren't.
Secondly, have we really thought about what Ngai Tahu tourism could actually be? I have posted a few of my views and they relate to engaging with papatipu runaka at the local level. Creating iconic Ngai Tahu businesses where we can show visitors and our own people our stories of our land. We have so much to tell.
I have taken many tourists out for 6.5 hours in a bus, around iconic natural beauty and what those tourists said to me is that they want to hear the stories, they want to engage and they want context. It's our job to create the opportunities to do that.
Perhaps one way is to get serious about the cycleway. We could create small part journeys along the cycleway where we are able to build context for visitors around where they are and what they are seeing. it could be simple pou, or it could be a personal guide. the key is we create it, manage it and own it. We should be the ones telling our stories.
No one person can come up with the best way forward so why not ask our people what they think we could do? Would a pounamu trail work? The rock art sits there deterorating, perhaps we could show visitors these taonga. We have coast, we have valleys... we have every ecology and environment that is possible to describe and show visitors. And they will be interested. Ecocultural tourism is what people want.
But before we do all that we have to stop kidding ourselves that 'shotover jet' or the 'kiwi house' in te ika a maui are part of Ngai Tahu tourism. they aren't, they just happen to be businesses owned by Ngai Tahu to generate profit.
It is over 10 years since settlement and now is the time to reassess some of the structures that have been put in place. Do these structures help or hinder us? Do we have the courage to say that we want it a certain way; our way, rather than just accept what our pakeha overlords tell us.
Ngai Tahu Tourism should be about Ngai Tahu.
Footnote: I've just been and had a look at the shotover jet website. Ngai Tahu don't even get a mention, except here, see if you can find it! What the hell is going on. When our own companies don't give us due recognition - bloody hell I'm not saying they need a mihi or anything just an acknowledgement of how bloody lucky they are to be owned by tangata whenua.