I’m Pania Tyson- Nathan from Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Kahungunu.
I am a Mother, a Nanny, an Aunty and a wife.
I am also the CEO of NZ Māori Tourism.
How did it feel to be the 2018 hosts of the World Indigenous Tourism Summit?
A huge responsibility and privilege
What were the highlights?
The kōrero (conversation), the aspirations and knowing that the theme for the Summit was exactly right – we all want sustainable tourism, we all want to manage our assets for future generations, we all believe that with good planning we can have both tourism and jobs and growth in our communities, as well as successful businesses.
What do you think are the benefits of indigenous conferences like this to our tourism industry?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t spend too much time looking over the fence at others because in my view it can encourage complacency, at times the bar is set too low and actually our values are often so different, thus the starting point is different. It is more important to me that we understand what is going on in our backyard.
What is your hope for Maori tourism going forward?
That we are not Māori tourism dressed in drag.
That we are who we say we are, that we are true to the kaupapa and that we uplift each other. It is so important that we look to ourselves for the opportunities. No-one else can do it for us.
What is your hope for indigenous people world wide?
That we are better connected with each other, that we continue to learn from each other and that we can grow together.
What do you would you like people to know about Maori Tourism?
It is dynamic, it is unique, and it is genuine.
The foundations of our businesses which acknowledge those who have gone before us, who are here now and those who will come in the future. It is one where our association with our taiao, the land, our mountains and our rivers, and our role as kaitiaki or guardians is paramount.
What was the most successful thing about the Summit?
Having the Summit in a region (Northland) and the Research Symposium in Hopu Hopu versus a main centre – allowed for focus and better networking. The participants were dynamic and from all walks of life, including from 20 different countries. The volunteers were amazing including the students from QRC Taitokerau. As importantly the insights gleaned from both the Summit and the Symposium were valuable.
What were the challenges?
Making sure we had the right mix of people, international, local, regional, operators, Maori Trusts and Incorporations, Iwi, Hapu, all the while trying to maintain participation levels at no more than 300 to ensure there was quality discussion. There were absolutely things that could have been done better and we have learned some valuable lessons (as we should)
Any last words or comments?
We have a lot of work to do post the Summit.
On behalf of NZMT Board and staff, a huge thank you to everyone who participated, to our whanau in Northland who hosted us, to those who provided feedback and to our Volunteers.