‘Pantomime Powhiri’ leads to cultural investment
Maori tourism providers in Tauranga are seeing a silver lining to Princess Cruise's embarrassing ‘Pantomime Powhiri’ incident.
The incident involved Princess Cruise staff dressing up in face paint to give a mock powhiri to tourists as they entered Tauranga.
Iwi-owned and Maori tourism companies say the incident highlighted the need for more cultural offerings in Tauranga with several new businesses vying to fill the gap.
"People are getting on buses and heading to Rotorua for their cultural fix and we can offer that right here in Tauranga," says Bay of Plenty Tourism's Simon Phillips.
"We are helping cultural tourism businesses set up in Tauranga and are providing workshops to upskill all business owners.”
Simon says Tauranga doesn’t need to be in direct competition with Rotorua's cultural offerings, but needs to have more offerings for tourists.
"If we were to even capture 5 to 10 per cent of the visitors here we would be doing well.”
New businesses include hunting tours the Maketu Marae Tour, and an indigenous market called The Souk.
Other businesses soon to be operational include a glass-bottomed waka tour, Mo's Matakana Island Tour, and My Maunga Tours of Mauao.
Tour operator Reon Tuanau says the pantomime powhiri incident showed visitors wanted to have a cultural experience when they arrived in Tauranga.
"It was a dark cloud for Tauranga but it had a silver lining.
"It shows us that people want that sort of activity here in Tauranga when they land. There's just nothing to do."
Reon says his tour of Mauao will be an affordable way for tourists to see the beautiful scenery and learn about its cultural place in New Zealand.
"We get 1.2 million people walking around the mountain each year," says Reon.
"Most of them do not understand the cultural significance of the mountain."
Since the pantomine powhiri relationships between iwi and the cruise ship operators have been increasing, Reon says.
"We have let the cruise ships know what offers we have available and iwi are building a strong relationship with them."