2017 Award Winners & Finalists

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award

Winner: Haka Tourism Group

The brainchild of the entrepreneurial Ryan Sanders, Haka Tourism Group was named the country’s top tourism operator in the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2017.

This inspirational tourism success story won the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award. It also won the JLT & AIG Business Excellence Award – more than $6 million annual turnover and the epay NZ Tourism Marketing Award. Ryan himself was recognised for his visionary and influential leadership, winning the Auckland Airport Tourism Industry Champion Award.

Over the past 10 years Haka Tourism Group has expanded to include small group, adventure, snow and mountain bike tours, upmarket hostels, a specialist educational brand and high end snow tours. This year it is opening its first two hotels to support the tourism industry’s strong visitor growth.

TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says Haka Tourism Group is an inspirational tourism success story that has strong links with the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework.

Driven by cutting edge digital marketing and brand positioning, Haka Tourism Group is growing at an average of 80% year on year, with revenues for the next 12 months on track to exceed $17 million.

The Awards judges congratulated Ryan Sanders and his team for creating a tourism business that is excelling on every level.

www.hakatours.com

View the entry video

Individual Award Winners 2017

PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award

Winner: Shayne Forrest – Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata

Shayne has been involved in initiatives that have made Matamata’s Hobbiton Movie Set a must see attraction around the globe.

As Marketing Manager, he’s led promotions that attracted in over 23 million online views. These campaign have helped Hobbiton achieve international brand recognition and seen visitor numbers grow from 58,000 in 2012 to more than half a million this year.

The judges said Shayne is a stand-out performer who is making a fantastic contribution to Hobbiton Movie Set and ensures the company’s marketing strategy is aligned with the Tourism 2025 growth framework

They commended his contribution to the wider tourism industry and community, including Young TEC and schools. They also loved his ambition and said he is an emerging leader to watch!

www.hobbitontours.com

View the entry video
Finalists
Jasmine Adams, Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park

www.rotoruatop10.co.nzView the finalist video

Margaret Munro, Earth & Sky Stargazing & Observatory Tours

www.earthandsky.co.nzView the finalist video

Auckland Airport Tourism Industry Champion Award

Winner: Ryan Sanders – Haka Tourism Group

As the founder and sole-shareholder of Haka Tourism Group, Ryan’s roles have transitioned over the past 10 years from the company’s only employee through to General Manager, and now a more strategic growth oriented role.

The judges called Ryan a remarkable leader who is going from strength to strength.

He has built a successful business from nothing to include small guided groups, five lodges and two hotels opening this year.

He is hugely enthusiastic about the New Zealand tourism industry and is proactively developing new, quality tourism products and infrastructure to support visitor growth.

Ryan contributes willingly back to the wider industry, undertaking leadership and governance roles in tourism industry bodies.

www.hakatours.com

View the entry video
Finalists
Lisa Li – China Travel Service (NZ) Ltd Auckland

www.chinatravel.co.nz

View the finalist video
Les Morgan, Sudima Hotels & Resorts

www.sudimahotels.com

View the finalist video
Angus Stubbs, Tourism Holdings Ltd – Discover Waitomo

www.waitomo.com

View the finalist video

Crowe Horwath International Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award

Winner: The late Earl Hagaman

A generous donor and entrepreneur, Earl Hagaman made a mighty contribution to New Zealand’s tourism industry.

Earl co-founded Scenic Circle Hotels with the late Ralph Brown in the 1980s. By 2009, Scenic had become the major hotel group in New Zealand – all New Zealand owned and operated. The same year the company rebranded as Scenic Hotel Group, offering two distinct brands – Heartland Hotels and Scenic Hotels.

At the time of Earl’s death in May 2017 aged 92, he’d built a portfolio of 18 accommodation properties worth around $200 million and employing some 1000 employees. Many of his properties have provided platforms for growth in our regions, such as Hawkes Bay and the West Coast.

As well as being an outstanding contributor to New Zealand’s tourism industry over many decades, Earl and the Hagaman family have gifted more than $10 million over the past 20 years to numerous individuals, communities and organisations.

Earl Hagaman is a New Zealand tourism industry pioneer and a visionary whose legacy lives on.

www.scenichotelgroup.co.nz 

Business Award Winners 2017

Westpac Business Excellence - Less than $6m Annual Turnover Award

Winner: Auckland Seaplanes, Auckland

Auckland Seaplanes brought the romance of seaplanes back to the city of sails when it started operations in 2013 with one aircraft, adding a second plane several years later.

It offers a range of premium scenic flights over the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland, as well as fly and dine-wine tasting experiences to Waiheke Island, the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Central North Island lakes.

Strong partnerships and investing in staff, processes and safety, have seen it increase revenue significantly over the past year.

The judges said Auckland Seaplanes has a strong focus on quality and safety and is making a real effort to contribute towards environmental best practice.

It achieves a high level of customer satisfaction, acting on customer feedback to continually improve the visitor experience.

www.aucklandseaplanes.com

View the entry video
Finalists

JLT and AIG Business Excellence - More than $6m annual Turnover Award

Winner: Haka Tourism Group

Running its first tour in 2007, Haka Tourism Group operates small group, adventure, snow and mountain bike tours.

To enable it to control more of the visitor experience, it started its own upmarket hostel brand. It’s also expanding into the hotel business, with two Auckland properties opening this year.

The Haka educational brand operates globally and NZ Snow Tours offers high end snow trips.

Haka Tourism Group is constantly fine tuning the business to successfully maximise visitor satisfaction and profits.

The judges said Haka Tourism Group is focused on exceptional product development and delivering a world class visitor experience, backed by a clearly defined growth strategy.

It is diversifying and investing in new products and infrastructure to support the industry’s Tourism 2025 vision.

This approach is achieving great results. The business is growing at an average of 80% year on year, with revenues for the next 12 months on track to exceed 17 million dollars.

www.hakatours.com

View the entry video
Finalists

Department of Conservation Environmental Tourism Award

Winner: Sudima Hotels and Resorts

Sudima Hotels & Resorts believes that as visitor numbers increase, it must reduce its carbon footprint, and it’s committed to walking the talk.

Examples include Sudima Auckland Airport, New Zealand’s only Carbon Zero hotel; the Sudima Christchurch Airport rebuild incorporated environmentally sustainable building practices and was the city’s first hotel to install electric car charging stations;

Sudima suppliers have to prove the sustainability of their products; the company’s ‘Green Team’ works on green initiatives and local community projects at each Sudima hotel and across the group.

The judges said Sudima Hotels & Resorts is an environmental leader in its sector, achieving very high standards. A commitment to the environment is ingrained across the business, led by Chief Executive Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, whose mantra is ‘You have to to leave the world in a better position than you found it’.

www.sudimahotels.com

View the entry video
Finalists

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Industry Alignment Award

Winner: Tourism West Coast

With limited resources, Tourism West Coast implemented a rebranding of the region which has seen it increase visitor spend and build market share.

To develop the new West Coast untamed natural wilderness brand, the Regional Tourism Organisation conducted robust research and consulted widely. This included holding tourism operator workshops involving more than 140 people and getting input from Tourism New Zealand, inbound tour operators and travel agents.

The judges said this was a fantastic example of industry alignment that had helped drive up annual visitor spending on the West Coast by 12% to $522 million. The new untamed natural wilderness brand has been enthusiastically accepted by the New Zealand tourism industry and international markets, and won applause from local mayors and councils.

www.westcoast.co.nz

View the entry video
Finalists

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Māori Tourism Award

Winner: Kapiti Island Nature Tours

Kapiti Island Nature Tours is a whanau company, providing a nature and cultural tourism experience on traditionally owned Maori land.

The business operates the ferry business to and from Kapiti Island, offering guided walks, overnight stays and kiwi-spotting tours. Whanau guides interpret the history, culture, wildlife and environment of the island for visitors through their knowledge and ties to the whenua.

A growing and profitable business, the judge said Kapiti Island Nature Tours is imbued with inherent Maori values, including Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga and Rangatiratanga.

Kapiti Island has been a part of the whanau for eight generations and the business takes its role as kaitiaki of the land very seriously.

Whanau guides are proud to share the island’s precious native fauna and a genuine Maori cultural experience with visitors from around the world.

www.kapitiisland.com

Finalists

epay NZ Tourism Marketing Award

Winner: Haka Tourism Group

In 2016, Haka Tourism Group set aggressive targets to deliver its biggest ever snow season via an integrated series of digital marketing campaigns, working with brand partners to maximise reach and impact.

The marketing campaign produced exceptional results, was highly innovative and tackled key themes that support the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework, such as seasonality and attracting high value visitors.

The campaign has now formed a blue-print for digital marketing across the Haka group.

The judges said this was an outstanding digital marketing campaign – innovative and measured, achieving excellent results below budget! They loved the way the campaign aligned with Tourism 2025 goals of smoothing out seasonality and attracting high value visitors.

Successfully working with brand partners to target high-value Australian snow enthusiasts, this was an outstanding campaign and an industry example of how to do marketing!

www.hakatours.com

View the entry video
Finalists

Sudima Hotels and Resorts Tourism 2025 Enabler Award

Winner: Queenstown Resort College

Queenstown Resort College is one of New Zealand’s leading tourism and hospitality management colleges, employing 75 staff and catering to 500 full time students.

Its goal is to provide tourism businesses with industry-ready graduates who will become the managers, leaders and business entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Guided by its Industry Advisory Board, QRC works closely with stakeholders to ensure its programmes are constantly evolving to meet industry needs and demands, with one innovative example its national Ambassador programme.

The judges said Queenstown Resort College is a stand-out business that is innovative and responsive.

In addition to delivering leading Diploma and Graduate programmes in multiple locations, QRC developed its Ambassador programme after identifying the need for a more engaged workforce.

This affordable and accessible programme gives participants the tools and knowledge to meaningfully engage with visitors.

It meets the needs of tourism operators, resulting in great staff engagement and increased sales and visitor satisfaction.

www.queenstownresortcollege.com

View the entry video
Finalists
Angus and Associates Ltd

www.angusassociates.co.nz

New Zealand Transport Agency

www.nzta.govt.nz

View the finalist video

ServiceIQ Visitor Experience Award

Winner: Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi

Northland’s historical Waitangi Treaty Grounds has transformed itself over the past four years into a major visitor attraction for both domestic and international visitors.

The construction of the $14 million award-winning Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi and a successful visitor experience programme are at the heart of this transformation.

The judges said the Waitangi Treaty Grounds has repositioned itself as a world class attraction. They applauded the multi-million investment in new product, including the museum and carving studio, and the introduction of the all-inclusive day pass which is successfully encouraging visitors to stay longer and do more.

By transforming the visitor experience, Waitangi Treaty Grounds has driven up revenue by 54%, increased visitor numbers by 8%, and seen visitor satisfaction grow to an all-time high.

www.waitangi.org.nz

View the entry video
Finalists
thl – Tourism Holdings Ltd – NZ Rentals

www.thlonline.com

View the finalist video

NZME People's Choice Award

Winner: Real Journeys

A family owned tourism business, Real Journeys provides remarkable visitor experiences in some of New Zealand’s most remote areas.

The business offers cruises through Milford and Doubtful Sounds, subterranean adventures through the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, and cruises across Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu. More recent additions include Go Orange, Cardrona Alpine Resort and the International Antarctic Centre.

Strategic acquisitions have enabled Real Journeys to diversify the business across seasons, increase its geographic spread and attracting new customers.

www.realjourneys.co.nz

2016 Award Winners

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award

Winner: Rotorua Canopy Tours

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.
This thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.

The judges said at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.

View the entry video

Individual Award Winners 2016

Emerging Tourism Leader Award

Winner: Bradley Garnett – SKYCITY Entertainment Group

Working as a hotel porter while he was studying gave Brad Garnett a taste for tourism and hospitality. He’s gone on to work in hotels across the world and in 2013 was promoted to SKYCITY Entertainment Group’s Hotels Group Revenue Manager. Since then he has consistently produced record revenue results for both SKYCITY’s Auckland hotels.

Brad is also Manager of the SKYCITY Contact Centre, managing a team which averages an incredible 2000 customer touch points daily!

The judges said Brad’s commitment doesn’t stop at the doors of SKYCITY. He is a passionate contributor to New Zealand’s tourism industry and loves any excuse to get in front of people to explain the importance of revenue management.

View the entry video
Finalists
Jared Adams, Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park
View the finalist video

Tourism Industry Champion Award

Winner: Graeme Abbot – Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, Canterbury

Graeme Abbot has been General Manager of the extremely successful Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa for 16 years. Passionate and business savvy, he has delivered great results for the council-owned spa complex, the local Hanmer community and the wider Canterbury tourism industry.

Under Graeme’s leadership the pool and spa’s physical size has expanded by 50%, annual visitor numbers have accelerated to more than half a million and annual turnover has more than doubled to $11 million.

The judges said Graeme is a well-respected industry champion who has made a wide reaching difference. They praised his personal integrity and success in transforming Hanmer into a ‘spa town’.

View the entry video
Finalists
Olivier Lacoua – CQ Hotels Wellington
View the finalist video
Lisa Li – China Travel Service (NZ) Ltd Auckland
View the finalist video

Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award

Winner: George Hickton

George Hickton is the man who drove the development of the award-winning and enduring 100% Pure New Zealand international marketing brand.

The judges said it was George’s most outstanding achievement during his 10 years as Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand from 1999 to 2009.

During George’s time at the helm of TNZ, annual visitor arrivals increased from 1.6 million to more than 2.4 million and international visitor expenditure grew from $4.5 billion to over $7 billion. George saw the value of events in raising New Zealand’s international profile. Highlights included award winning New Zealand gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show and the giant inflatable rugby Ball projects.

The industry is still benefiting from George’s inspirational leadership, including Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board Chair, Weta Workshop and Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours Director and Project Director of Wellington’s new Movie Museum.

Business Award Winners 2016

Business Excellence - Less than $6m Annual Turnover Award

Winner: Black Cat Cruises, Canterbury

Black Cat Cruises is one of the South Island’s biggest cruise companies. Each year more than 150,000 customers experience a nature cruise, dolphin swim or ferry ride on one of its modern vessels on Akaroa or Lyttelton Harbours.

Providing a top service while preserving the harbour environment has been challenging, but Black Cat Cruises has built a business model and staff culture to achieve this. It has responded to the challenge of rebuilding visitors to Akaroa and the wider region after the Canterbury earthquakes decimated visitor numbers.

The judges said Black Cat Cruises has demonstrated real longevity in a tough environment. It has just celebrated its 30th year – its most successful yet!

View the entry video
Finalists
Auckland Seaplanes
View the finalist video
Takaro Trails Cycle Tours, Hawkes Bay
View the finalist video

Business Excellence - More than $6m annual Turnover Award

Winner: Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Who would have thought 16 years ago that a bare hillside out of Matamata would house a tourism business attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually? Thanks to the perseverance of the Alexander family, devoted staff and the support of Sir Peter Jackson, that’s what Hobbiton Movie Set & Farms has achieved.

Marketing collaborations with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and the Waikato RTO have enabled this SME to cut through the noise to build brand recognition internationally. Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours have grown almost 10 fold over the past four years.

The judges said in a relatively short space of time, Hobbiton has become an iconic, must-see New Zealand attraction with an international reputation.

View the entry video
Finalists
CQ Hotels Wellington
View the finalist video
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, Canterbury
View the finalist video
NZSki Ltd, Queenstown
View the finalist video

Environmental Tourism Award

Winner: Rotorua Canopy Tours, Rotorua

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.

This thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.

The judges said at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.

View the entry video
Finalists
The Langham Auckland
thl – Tourism Holdings Limited – Waitomo Glowworm Caves
View the finalist video

Industry Alignment Award

Winner: Destination Rotorua

Four years ago Rotorua was languishing as one of the worst performing RTO regions. This spurred Destination Rotorua and over 150 local operators to join together to fund Famously Rotorua, a high profile domestic marketing campaign, originally targeting the Auckland market and more recently Auckland’s Chinese community.

The judges said this well targeted campaign is maximising results for local tourism operators and ramping up the economic benefits to the local community. It has reinvigorated the destination as a place for New Zealanders to visit more often, stay longer and spend more.

View the entry video
Finalists
AA Traveller – The New Zealand Cycle Trail Guide
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd

Māori Tourism Award

Winner: Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Northland

A transformation over the past four years has seen the Waitangi Treaty Grounds develop into a major visitor attraction featuring historic buildings, guided tours, authentic cultural performances, hangi and concerts.

The recent completion of the multi-million dollar award-winning Te Kongahu-Museum of Waitangi enhances the cultural experience, telling stories of Waitangi and the origin of the nation.

The judges said Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a stand-out performer that has achieved financial and visitor growth beyond expectations. It is displaying a newfound pride in its rich Maori culture and is vital to the economic well-being of the local community.

View the entry video
Finalists
Time Unlimited Tours
View the finalist video

Tourism Marketing Award

Winner: Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Who would have thought 16 years ago that a bare hillside out of Matamata would house a tourism business attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually? Thanks to the perseverance of the Alexander family, devoted staff and the support of Sir Peter Jackson, that’s what Hobbiton Movie Set & Farms has achieved.

Marketing collaborations with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and the Waikato RTO have enabled this SME to cut through the noise to build brand recognition internationally. Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours have grown almost 10 fold over the past four years.

The judges said in a relatively short space of time, Hobbiton has become an iconic, must-see New Zealand attraction with an international reputation.

View the entry video
Finalists
Haka Tours Ltd
The Department of Conservation and Air New Zealand
View the finalist video

Tourism 2025 Enabler Award

Winner: Angus & Associates, Wellington

The winner of this award for the second consecutive year, Angus & Associates is an independent market, research and strategic planning consultancy.

It develops insight solutions for tourism organisations and sectors, including holiday parks, regional tourism operators, cycle trails and the backpacker, youth and adventure tourism sector.

The judges said Angus & Associates understand the complexities of the tourism industry and has produced effective and user-friendly sector information where there was nothing to start with! A syndicated approach enables research to occur that individual organisations would often be unable to conduct on their own.

View the entry video
Finalists
FORWARD Insight and Strategy, Auckland

Visitor Experience Award

Winner: Rotorua Canopy Tours

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.

This thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.

The judges said at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.

View the entry video
Finalists
Haka Tours Ltd
Rainbow’s End Theme Park
View the finalist video

People's Choice Award

Winner: Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Who would have thought 16 years ago that a bare hillside out of Matamata would house a tourism business attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually? Thanks to the perseverance of the Alexander family, devoted staff and the support of Sir Peter Jackson, that’s what Hobbiton Movie Set & Farms has achieved.

Marketing collaborations with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and the Waikato RTO have enabled this SME to cut through the noise to build brand recognition internationally. Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours have grown almost 10 fold over the past four years.

The judges said in a relatively short space of time, Hobbiton has become an iconic, must-see New Zealand attraction with an international reputation.

2015 Award Winners

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award

Winner: Skyline Rotorua

kyline Rotorua is an iconic attraction that offers a fantastic visitor experience and customer service second to none.

It has undergone an incredible transformation over the past couple of years to successfully attract more visitors, broaden its appeal, drive up revenue and improve guest satisfaction. The big business changes it has made have helped reinvigorate Rotorua!

Skyline Rotorua’s comprehensive end-to-end strategy and initiatives hit all the key points within Tourism 2025, in particular productivity for profit, target for value and delivering an outstanding visitor experience.

This is a hugely important business, not just to Rotorua, but to the entire New Zealand tourism industry.

View the entry video

Individual Award Winners 2015

Emerging Tourism Leader Award

Winner: Ryan Sanders, Haka Tours Ltd

Ryan Sanders is eight years into what he says will be a life-long commitment to New Zealand’s tourism industry. He launched Haka Tours in 2007 to give international visitors the trip of a lifetime on small group, guided adventure, snow and mountain bike tours.

Haka’s innovative business model is a roaring success, allowing visitors to build, customise and manage their tours online. In 2010 Ryan successfully expanded into upmarket backpacker accommodation.

The judges said if New Zealand tourism could encourage types of behaviour, Ryan’s is it! Ryan is a remarkable entrepreneur who has built a successful and diversified business from nothing and also makes time to contribute to the industry.

Finalists
Sarah Greener, The Rock Adventure Cruise
Ross Copland, Coronet Peak Ski Area

Tourism Industry Champion Award

Winner: Jeroen Jongejans, Dive! Tutukaka

Jeroen Jongejans, the Managing Director of Northland’s Dive! Tutukaka is a man whose passion for tourism is legendary.

Jeroen runs a high profile, successful Northland business and has been involved in the industry at many levels. He’s been instrumental in enhancing the Poor Knights marine reserve – creating the attraction in which Dive! Tutukaka now operates and promoting New Zealand internationally as a dive destination.

The judges said Jeroen is a resolute and effective ambassador for New Zealand tourism across many fronts. He has high visibility in Northland as a tourism leader and generously shares his knowledge and energy with the wider tourism industry.

Finalists
Kiri Goulter, Hamilton and Waikato Tourism
Bruce Thomasen, Skyline Enterprises Ltd

Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award

Winner: Sir Peter Jackson

The judges called film maker and producer Sir Peter Jackson Destination New Zealand’s number one marketer. He is an unashamed advocate for New Zealand, insisting on staying here when he could easily have moved to the bright lights of Hollywood. His amazing film-making efforts have brought visitors to New Zealand – and entertained and enthralled them while here.

Sir Peter is also a part-owner of Hobbiton. His planes and artefacts are on display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. This year he created The Great War Exhibition in Wellington and he is working with the National Army Museum to create a life-size World War One battlefield in Waiouru.

Business Award Winners 2015

Business Excellence - Less than $6m Annual Turnover Award

Winner: Haka Tours Ltd

Haka Tours sells direct to the consumer online, offering visitors the trip of a lifetime on small group, guided adventure, snow and mountain bike tours. Over the past eight years it’s introduced new products to appeal to different markets, and expanded into accommodation, with its fifth upmarket backpacker lodge scheduled to open later this year. Growth has also come through acquisition, collaboration and doing things differently.

The judges called Haka Tours an amazingly innovative company, success orientated with a strong focus on growth. It has a stand out strategy that links to Tourism 2025 – an excellent articulation of where the business is going and its goals.

View the entry video
Finalists
CQ Hotels Wellington
Dive! Tutukaka

Business Excellence - More than $6m annual Turnover Award

Winner: Skyline Rotorua

Skyline Rotorua is an iconic attraction that offers a fantastic visitor experience and customer service second to none.

It has undergone an incredible transformation over the past couple of years to successfully attract more visitors, broaden its appeal, drive up revenue and improve guest satisfaction. The big business changes it has made have helped reinvigorate Rotorua!

Skyline Rotorua’s comprehensive end-to-end strategy and initiatives hit all the key points within Tourism 2025, in particular productivity for profit, target for value and delivering an outstanding visitor experience.

This is a hugely important business, not just to Rotorua, but to the entire New Zealand tourism industry.

View the entry video
Finalists
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
Rainbow’s End Theme Park Ltd
Thrifty Car Rental New Zealand

Environmental Tourism Award

Winner: Ziptrek Ecotours, Queenstown

Ziptrek Ecotours is a successful business driven by the ethos of inspiration through adventure. Communicating sustainability through every touch point is key to its business model. This includes its guests, staff and extended community of suppliers, trade partners and local Queenstown community.

During the tours, visitors discover what a sustainable system in nature looks like, what Ziptrek Ecotours is doing to ‘touch the earth lightly’, and what they can do in their own life to support sustainability.

The judges said Ziptrek Ecotours is a wonderful example of a highly successful tourism business embracing and promoting sustainability in everything it does.

View the entry video
Finalists
Coronet Peak Ski Area
Dive! Tutukaka
The Langham Auckland

Industry Alignment Award

Winner: Department of Conservation / Air New Zealand – The Great Walks Story

The judges said The Great Walks Story and the partnership between the Department of Conservation and Air New Zealand highlights the value of government and business aligning for the benefit of both tourism and conservation.

This campaign uses high profile communication and marketing channels to share the Great Walks experience.

Since 2012, when the partnership began, an additional 24,736 people have walked the Great Walks. In 2013 Air New Zealand extended the partnership out to 2017, with an additional investment of $4.5 million.

View the entry video
Finalists
Art Deco Trust
Bay of Islands Destination Marketing Group
The Middle Earth Trilogy – Te Puia, Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, Discover Waitomo

Māori Tourism Award

Winner: TIME Unlimited Tours, Auckland

The judges said TIME Unlimited Tours demonstrates its commitment to an authentic Maori tourism experience. The premise of the business is to place the guest at the centre of the experience as a ‘taonga’ or treasure.

In a personalised experience, visitors learn about Maori language, cuisine, medicines, customs, flora and fauna. They discover that Maori culture is a living culture, where the traditions and customs of ancestors live on in the lives of modern-day Maori.

The company focuses on cultural and environmental points of difference as its core selling points and has a strong motivation to take care of the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage which underpin its business success.

View the entry video
Finalists
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Ngai Tahu Tourism

Tourism Marketing Award

Winner: Thrifty Car Rental New Zealand, Christchurch

In 2014 following surveys of AA members who had an interest in domestic travel, strategic partners Thrifty Car Rental and the AA created a vision to become industry leaders, offering an all-inclusive year-round ‘no hidden fees’ rental car product.

The aim was to have car rental perceived as easy and affordable and show that AA and Thrifty offered a ‘smart travel’ option.

The awards judges said this was an innovative campaign that has delivered an outstanding increase in bookings and has also played a pivotal role in turbocharging Thrifty’s market share growth.

View the entry video
Finalists
Destination Rotorua
Haka Tours Ltd

Tourism 2025 Enabler Award

Winner: Angus & Associates, Wellington

In 2011, recognising there was little marketing insight available to the majority of the tourism industry, Angus & Associates took the initiative to develop and run its own visitor monitor – the Visitor Insights Programme.

The VIP provides visitor insights through a collaboratively-funded programme, offering individual operators and industry bodies the opportunity to access information that would otherwise be unavailable.

View the entry video
Finalists
Positively Wellington Tourism
Taupo District Council, Tuaropaki Ltd, Destination Great Lake Taupo

Visitor Experience Award

Winner: Coronet Peak Ski Area, Queenstown

Coronet Peak Ski Area’s objective for the 2015 season was to reduce customers’ ‘time to snow’ to ensure they have the ultimate experience on the mountain. This has driven changes across the operation, including initiatives around recruitment and training, building restructuring and process flows, roading and car parking, and mountain operations.

The judges said Coronet Peak Ski Area has done an awesome job to bring automation into play, increased employment and focused on lots of training. The visitor journey has been given a massive overhaul and is now truly world class. Revenue has increased significantly and they are making an amazing contribution to the industry.

View the entry video
Finalists
Dart River – Ngai Tahu Tourism, Glenorchy
Rainbow’s End Theme Park Ltd, Auckland
SKYCITY Grand Hotel, Auckland