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2019 Individual Award Finalists

PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award Finalists

Finalists
Jason Dawson
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

www.waikatonz.com

Jason has been Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT) for three years. His previous experience within the tourism sector was the group level management of the Hamilton i-SITE visitor centre for 3.5 years and through supporting his parents with their paua souvenir business in Northland. During his time at HWT, the region’s visitor economy has grown significantly in both leisure and business travel.

Trent Yeo
Ziptrek Ecotours

https://ziptrek.co.nz/

Trent has moved from architecture to guiding, outdoor education to tourism. After studying and working in architecture, he realised that he didn’t need to build anything; getting people to spend time in the outdoors was inspiration enough to build a better world. Ziptrek Ecotours is now woven into the deep tourism heritage of Queenstown. Tens of thousands of people each year now hear a story of humans linked to our natural world.

Adrian Thompson
GO Rentals

www.gorentals.co.nz

Adrian’s tourism career has been led by a passion for people, both customers and staff, and facilitating their success. After emigrating from the UK with a hospitality background in 2014, he is now the National Operations Manager, managing 125 staff at GO Rentals. Working to provide his customers with the best and most innovative experience possible is his privilege.

Marsh Tourism Industry Champion Award Finalists

Finalists
John Barrett
Kapiti Island Nature Tours

www.kapitiisland.com

John’s career began as a travel cadet working for Thomas Cook Wellington. His love of New Zealand eventually saw him build a family business on Kapiti Island, highlighting its unique conservation, cultural and tourism potential. John is Managing Director/Founder of Kapiti Island Nature Tours and Nature Lodge. He has also been active on local and national tourism and Māori Boards.

Fergus Brown
Holiday Parks New Zealand

www.holidayparks.co.nz

In his 44 years in tourism, Fergus has held a range of leadership roles. During his time in Asia with Tourism New Zealand, he developed and implemented the first Asian strategy, targeting the developing markets of China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South East Asia. Now Chief Executive of Holiday Parks New Zealand, he has developed and implemented strategies that have added value to members, local communities and the wider tourism industry. He has served as Board member of Tourism Industry Aotearoa for over 10 years and chairs ServiceIQ’s Hospitality Industry Advisory Group.

Lisa Li
China Travel Service (NZ) Ltd

www.kiwiyou.co.nz

General Manager of China Travel Service (NZ) Ltd, Lisa Li is an energetic and effective advocate for the New Zealand and Chinese tourism and business sectors. Her team has grown to 65 staff over the past 18 years. Lisa works closely with the Māori tourism sector, and has helped develop their positioning in the important China market. She works actively with New Zealand organisations to better understand the China visitor market and to leverage opportunities to attract more, longer staying and higher yielding visitors.

2019 Business Award Finalists

Auckland Airport Tourism Sustainability Business Excellence Award – more than $6m annual turnover

Finalists
Air New Zealand

www.airnewzealand.co.nz

Air New Zealand operates a global network that provides passenger and cargo services to, from and within New Zealand to approximately 17 million passengers a year. The airline’s purpose is to supercharge New Zealand’s success socially, environmentally and economically to ensure a strong, vibrant business into the future. Air New Zealand operates to 20 domestic and 30 international destinations.

INFLITE

inflitecharters.com

INFLITE is a leading aviation tourism operator with a fleet of over 15 aircraft and a range of spectacular experiences. INFLITE provides luxury air travel solutions and lodge transfers through its Charter division. The business also includes Mount Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters, Skydive Franz Josef, Skydive Abel Tasman and soon to launch is Skydive Mt Cook. INFLITE Experiences in Auckland and Taupo and Nelson Tasman Air offer stunning scenic flight options by helicopter or plane.

Southern Discoveries

www.southerndiscoveries.co.nz

Southern Discoveries is a premium tourism company dedicated to sharing some of New Zealand’s most iconic scenery and extraordinary experiences with the world. It offers cruise excursions in Milford Sound and Queenstown, and seamless coach and flight connections between the two destinations. Southern Discoveries is the original Milford Sound operator and provides the widest range of experiences in the fiord. It also operates the Spirit of Queenstown Scenic Cruise across Lake Wakatipu.

Tourism Ticker Tourism Sustainability Business Excellence Award – less than $6m annual turnover

Finalists
Forgotten World Adventures

www.forgottenworldadventures.co.nz

Forgotten World Adventures is a unique tourism operator in Taumarunui, Ruapehu. We offer guided tours ranging from three hours to two days. Our tours appeal to a variety of ages and budgets, ranging from RailCart journeys to jet boat and helicopter tours. We also have Forgotten World Motel to provide beds for guests wanting to stay in Taumarunui. Since 2011, FWA has brought visitors to a regional area not previously thought of as a tourism destination.

Kaitiaki Adventures

www.kaitiaki.co.nz

Kaitiaki Adventures is a globally recognised adventure tourism company with a uniquely Aotearoa product. Kaitiaki specialises in culturally infused white-water rafting, white-water sledging and hiking excursions exposing the Okere/Kaituna Awa and Te Maunga O Tarawera. Kaitiaki Adventures infuses Tikanga Māori into each excursion.

Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights

www.treewalk.co.nz

A Rotorua must do, the Redwoods Treewalk features a suspended 40-minute ecological bridge walk, providing a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the forest. The walk highlights the history of this iconic forest area, the giant Californian Redwood, the people (iwi) and the land (whenua). The Redwoods Nightlights offer a magical night experience featuring lanterns from New Zealand design and sustainability champion David Trubridge.

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Māori Tourism Award

Finalists
Kaitiaki Adventures

www.kaitiaki.co.nz

Kaitiaki Adventures is a globally recognised adventure tourism company with a uniquely Aotearoa product. Kaitiaki specialises in culturally infused white-water rafting, white-water sledging and hiking excursions exposing the Okere/Kaituna Awa and Te Maunga O Tarawera. Kaitiaki Adventures infuses Tikanga Māori into each excursion.

MDA Experiences

www.mdanz.com

MDA Experiences is an industry leader for cultural, luxury and adventure tourism. Our strong focus on Māori culture, coupled with awe-inspiring landscapes topped off with the ability to create adventures that suit anyone’s age, ability and interests, has seen MDA Experiences grow into the preferred choice for those seeking bespoke and genuine experiences.

Wharewaka o Pōneke Enterprises Ltd

www.wharewakaoponeke.co.nz

Wharewaka o Pōneke Enterprises Limited (WOPEL) is the leading Māori tourism provider in the Wellington region. Through offerings such as waka and walking tours, cultural engagement services, the Wharewaka Functions and Karaka Café, WOPEL has provided a vehicle for mana whenua to fulfil the vision of returning a physical Māori presence to Wellington’s waterfront and waka to Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Westpac Economic Success Award

Finalists
GCH Aviation

www.helicopters.net.nz

GCH Aviation is Christchurch’s only helicopter provider combining a tourism business, flight school and helicopter rescue service for Canterbury, West Coast and Nelson. Our tourism operations reach from the middle of the South Island to the middle of the North Island. GCH Aviation offers tourism helicopter charter flights, commercial flying, and the South Island’s only purpose-built private jet centre with further expansion into fixed-wing and jet aircraft charter services underway

Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights

www.treewalk.co.nz

A Rotorua must do, the Redwoods Treewalk features a suspended 40-minute ecological bridge walk, providing a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the forest. The walk highlights the history of this iconic forest area, the giant Californian Redwood, the people (iwi) and the land (whenua). The Redwoods Nightlights offer a magical night experience featuring lanterns from New Zealand design and sustainability champion David Trubridge.

Skyline Queenstown

www.skyline.co.nz/en/queenstown

Skyline Queenstown is New Zealand’s most popular ticketed attraction with nearly 20 million visitors since our humble beginnings in 1967. With panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains, there’s no better place to experience the beauty of Queenstown. Accessed by scenic gondola, Skyline Queenstown offers unforgettable fun for all ages – be it luging, mountain biking, or experiencing the best of local and international cuisine high amongst some of the world’s greatest scenery.

The Great Journeys of New Zealand Industry Enabler Award

Finalists
Auckland Airport

www.aucklandairport.co.nz

Auckland Airport is proud to be an economic engine for New Zealand, helping to grow our country’s success in travel, trade and tourism. Over the next 10 years, we are delivering a multi-billion-dollar investment programme that will transform the visitor experience. We are sharing the benefits of this investment with our communities, connecting local people with jobs. We also recognise our environmental responsibility, promoting sustainability and minimising the impact of our activities.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) & Tomahawk

www.gowithtourism.co.nz

Go with Tourism is an initiative spearheaded by ATEED and brought to life by digital marketing agency Tomahawk. Go with Tourism is a game-changing approach to job search and recruitment, throwing traditional methods out the window. At its heart is an innovative digital platform connecting job seekers to quality tourism employers. Go with Tourism increases awareness and demonstrates that a progressive life-long tourism career is possible for anyone.

Department of Conservation

www.doc.govt.nz

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is the government agency responsible for managing New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. Many of New Zealand’s most popular visitor attractions are on public conservation land and approximately 1110 tourism businesses operate there. DOC therefore has a crucial role in supporting New Zealand’s tourism industry to develop sustainably and operate in a way that limits the impact on, or even brings benefit to, the environment.

Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust Community Engagement Award

Finalists
Coastal Pacific, A Great Journey of New Zealand

www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/coastal-pacific

The Great Journeys of New Zealand is an aspirational, overarching tourism brand for KiwiRail that unites three iconic train journeys – Coastal Pacific, Northern Explorer and TranzAlpine – plus our Interislander Cook Strait ferry. Today, visitors are exploring Kaikōura, Blenheim, Picton and beyond, due to the re-establishment of the Coastal Pacific train journey in November 2018 following the devastating Kaikōura earthquakes in November 2016.

Stray & Kohutapu Lodge

www.straytravel.com

Since November 2013, Stray has been taking travellers to Kohutapu Lodge on the outskirts of Murupara to participate in a unique cultural programme. As one of New Zealand’s most impoverished townships, facing significant economic and social challenges, Murupara is an unlikely tourist destination. However, this venture sees tourism play a valued role in revitalising the town while also providing an authentic insight into modern day Māori culture for international visitors.

Skyline Queenstown

www.skyline.co.nz/en/queenstown

Skyline Queenstown is New Zealand’s most popular ticketed attraction with nearly 20 million visitors since our humble beginnings in 1967. With panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains, there’s no better place to experience the beauty of Queenstown. Accessed by scenic gondola, Skyline Queenstown offers unforgettable fun for all ages – be it luging, mountain biking, or experiencing the best of local and international cuisine high amongst some of the world’s greatest scenery.

Angus & Associates Visitor Experience Award

Finalists
Auckland War Memorial Museum

www.aucklandmuseum.com

Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum is New Zealand’s largest museum, caring for more than 4.5 million taonga. We share the stories of Auckland and Aotearoa with New Zealanders and the world. We are Auckland’s number one manmade visitor attraction on TripAdvisor, hosting more than 930,000 visitors a year. We are also Auckland’s home of commemoration and New Zealand’s oldest research institution. We employ approximately 300 people and have over 300 volunteers.

GO Rentals

www.gorentals.co.nz

Kiwi owned and operated, GO Rentals has grown to become a major player in the domestic car rental market. We continue to reinvent the rental car process. We’ve harnessed the latest technology and driven customer insights through powerful research to develop a truly customer-centric business strategy. We’ve married those with our unbelievably dedicated team who focus, each and every day, on our goal – ‘to be the world’s most loved car rental company’.

Mad Campers Ltd

www.madcampers.co.nz

Mad Campers provides the most innovative and comfortable economy campers in New Zealand. We are MAD about New Zealand and passionate about helping our travellers have an epic Kiwi adventure! Innovation and traveller experience is at the core of everything we do – leading us to deliver exciting new products and initiatives to the industry.

Owen River Lodge

www.owenriverlodge.co.nz

Award-winning Owen River Lodge is a boutique, luxury fly-fishing lodge near the rural South Island town of Murchison. It is recognised by guests, industry reviewers and accreditation agencies alike as an outstanding provider of an authentic, New Zealand luxury visitor experience. We don’t stop at 5-star accommodation; we’re in the business of making anglers’ daydreams come true.

Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award

Finalists
AJ Hackett Bungy NZ

www.bungy.co.nz

Since 1988, we’ve been in the business of fuelling people with courage and adrenaline. AJ Hackett Bungy NZ is synonymous with innovation, at the cutting edge of adventure tourism and the world industry leader in gravity related challenges. We’re a proudly Kiwi organisation, with innovation, life experience and fun at the core of what we do. We operate at five sites across Queenstown and Auckland, with 11 products on offer.

GCH Aviation Ltd

www.helicopters.net.nz

GCH Aviation is Christchurch’s only helicopter provider combining a tourism business, flight school and helicopter rescue service for Canterbury, West Coast and Nelson. Our tourism operations reach from the middle of the South Island to the middle of the North Island. GCH Aviation offers tourism helicopter charter flights, commercial flying, and the South Island’s only purpose-built private jet centre with further expansion into fixed-wing and jet aircraft charter services underway.

SkyCity Entertainment Group

www.skycityentertainmentgroup.com

SkyCity is New Zealand’s largest tourism, leisure and entertainment company. We operate integrated entertainment complexes in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown, as well as Adelaide, Australia. In addition to contemporary casino gaming facilities, we offer world-class restaurants, bars and conference facilities. We also offer hotel accommodation in Auckland. We employ over 6000 people representing over 70 cultures. We work hard to ensure our team reflects the communities within which we operate

Sudima Hotels

www.sudimahotels.com

Sudima Hotels’ mission is to deliver the most accessible and environmentally friendly hotels in Australasia. They have four hotels in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch, including the recently opened Sudima Christchurch City. Two more will open in Auckland City and Kaikōura in 2020. We actively reduce our environmental footprint and ensure we are inclusive and welcoming of all guests and staff, whatever their background or needs.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Industry Connections Award

Finalists
CamperMate

www.campermate.co.nz

CamperMate is an innovative smartphone application that has been downloaded by more than 1.3 million travellers. They’re using it to find campsites, public toilets, dump stations, rubbish bins, activities/attractions and much more. CamperMate provides timely and accurate location-based information to more than 50,000 travellers each day in peak periods. It also collects GPS data on their movements to assist local authorities with infrastructure planning.

Development West Coast – Tourism

westcoast.co.nz

We work closely with eight regional promotions groups, the Department of Conservation, KiwiRail, Christchurch Airport and 229 tourism businesses from Karamea in the north to Haast in the south. Tourism has risen to second place for contribution to West Coast GDP at $178 million. By highlighting Karamea, Punakaiki, Lake Brunner, Hokitika Gorge, the Glaciers and Haast in our marketing, we encourage regional dispersal.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

www.waikatonz.com

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism is a Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) whose role is to generate competitive economic benefit through strategies focused on increasing visitor length of stay and spend. Our goal is to sustainably super-charge the regional visitor economy. We deliver destination marketing and development services across Waikato.

Enviro-Mark Solutions Environmental Award

Finalists
Auckland Zoo – Te Whare Kararehe o Tamaki Makaurau

www.aucklandzoo.co.nz

Auckland Zoo is an active conservation organisation that has welcomed over 28 million visitors. We foster discovery of the natural world, inspire action for wildlife and create hope for its future. We lead by example, with optimism, with expertise and with passion. Auckland Zoo is a winner of national and international awards, and is at the leading edge of wildlife research, conservation work and innovative exhibits.

Kiwi Experience

www.kiwiexperience.com

Kiwi Experience is New Zealand’s original guided bus tour network. For the past 30 years, we’ve been providing a trip of a lifetime for like-minded travellers from around the world. With local guides who know the country and culture like the back of their hand, our bus adventures are simply the best way to experience New Zealand.

Sudima Hotels

www.sudimahotels.com

Sudima Hotels’ mission is to deliver the most accessible and environmentally friendly hotels in Australasia. They have four hotels in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch, including the recently opened Sudima Christchurch City. Two more will open in Auckland City and Kaikōura in 2020. We actively reduce our environmental footprint and ensure we are inclusive and welcoming of all guests and staff, whatever their background or needs.

YHA New Zealand

www.yha.co.nz

YHA New Zealand is Aotearoa’s largest hostel network. We believe in the power of travel to change lives through connection with people, culture and the land. We’re really proud to make these experiences accessible to a wide range of people as a safe, sustainably-minded budget travel brand. Achieving strong growth, annual improvements in employee satisfaction and exceeding carbon emission reduction targets, we deliver excellence to our guests, members, staff and the planet.

Department of Conservation Conservation Award

Finalists
Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

www.whalewatchingauckland.com

With Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, visitors experience the incredible wildlife of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and are inspired to protect it. Far from just whale and dolphin watching, this is a fully immersive conservation experience on-board our active research vessel, the ‘Dolphin Explorer’. We educate and inspire our guests on how they can directly contribute towards environmental conservation.

Auckland Zoo – Te Whare Kararehe o Tamaki Makaurau

www.aucklandzoo.co.nz

Auckland Zoo is an active conservation organisation that has welcomed over 28 million visitors. We foster discovery of the natural world, inspire action for wildlife and create hope for its future. We lead by example, with optimism, with expertise and with passion. Auckland Zoo is a winner of national and international awards, and is at the leading edge of wildlife research, conservation work and innovative exhibits.

Black Cat Cruises

blackcat.co.nz

Eco-tourism pioneer Black Cat Cruises offers world-class visitor experiences, including our signature Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises and Swimming with Dolphins tours. We strive to be a leader in environment management programmes. We know that it’s our responsibility as kaitiakitanga or good guardians to protect the Hector’s dolphin for future generations.

Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony

www.penguins.co.nz

The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony provides visitors with an opportunity to see little penguins in their natural environment. A tour during the day allows visitors to peek into the penguins’ nests, stroll through their habitat and learn about their fascinating lives. In the evening, visitors are captivated by watching the nightly arrival of penguins from their day fishing at sea. OBPC combines tourism operations with a strong research and conservation focus.

2018 Award Winners & Finalists

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award

Winner: Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl)

Dynamic and visionary with global revenue of $426 million, Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl) is the complete tourism story. A multinational recreational vehicle business that can hold its own on the world stage, thl is an exemplar for New Zealand’s tourism industry.

The winner of the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award and the Auckland Airport Business Excellence Award – more than $6 million annual turnover, thl is New Zealand’s largest provider of holiday campervans for rent and sale in New Zealand.

Listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, thl services more than 200,000 customers a year, operating a global recreational vehicle fleet of more than 6000. It also operates two additional tourism business in New Zealand – Discover Waitomo, including Waitomo Glowworm Caves; and Kiwi Experience, a bus network aimed at young backpackers.

Creating a tremendous crew culture has been integral to thl’s success. Investing in sustainability and innovation are also priorities, including developing electric motorhomes.

The judges said thl is an amazing success story, revealing incredible vision and commitment in a fiercely competitive environment.

Congratulations to thl, a proud and active participant within the New Zealand tourism industry.

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2018 Individual Award Winners

Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award

Winner: Kathy Guy

Kathy started in hospitality 37 years ago as a waitress. Next month she will retire as the general manager of not one, but two New Zealand hotels.

In a role still overwhelmingly held by men, she has been a trailblazer – one of the first women to be appointed a hotel GM in New Zealand, successfully leading the iconic Chateau Tongariro Hotel, and Wairakei Resort Taupo.

Kathy has also held numerous governance roles at the national and regional level, including – amongst many others – stints on the boards of Tourism New Zealand, Visit Ruapehu and Destination Great Lake Taupo.

And she has skin in the game, as a director and shareholder of Mountain Air with her husband Bhrent.

In 2016 Kathy was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for service to the tourism and hospitality industry.

www.chateau.co.nz

PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award

Winner: Luke Taylor, Go Orange

Luke Taylor hit the ground running when he joined the tourism industry after a career in the Navy. As General Manager of Go Orange, Luke is charged with developing a dynamic growth strategy and building a powerhouse adventure brand, including leading a multi-million dollar acquisition programme.

He leads a team of six direct reports and 250 adventure guides, with ultimate responsibility for development of all functions within the business.

The judges said Luke is a future industry leader who ticks all the boxes. He gets the company’s culture and strategy right, then focuses on creating an amazing customer experience.

Go Orange

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Finalists

JLT & AIG Tourism Industry Champion Award

Winner: Les Morgan, Sudima Hotels and Resorts

Group Director of Hotels for Sudima Hotels and Resorts, Les Morgan is driving strong growth in gross operating profit and revenues for Sudima.

Les has successfully forged a strong brand association between Sudima Hotels and sustainability. He has also increased staff engagement, shaping a culture that has resulted in arguably the lowest staff turnover rates of any hotel group in New Zealand.

The judges said Les is achieving excellent results for Sudima. He recognises the value of investing in people, and that has paid dividends in a sector that struggles to attract staff and minimise churn. Les is also making a big contribution to the wider tourism industry and is involved in youth development and governance roles.

Sudima Hotels and Resorts

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Finalists

2018 Business Award Winners

Auckland Airport Business Excellence Award - More than $6m annual Turnover

Winner: Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl)

Dynamic and visionary with global revenue of $426 million, Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl) is the complete tourism story. A multinational recreational vehicle business that can hold its own on the world stage, thl is an exemplar for New Zealand’s tourism industry.

The winner of the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award and the Auckland Airport Business Excellence Award – more than $6 million annual turnover, thl is New Zealand’s largest provider of holiday campervans for rent and sale in New Zealand.

Listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, thl services more than 200,000 customers a year, operating a global recreational vehicle fleet of more than 6000. It also operates two additional tourism business in New Zealand – Discover Waitomo, including Waitomo Glowworm Caves; and Kiwi Experience, a bus network aimed at young backpackers.

Creating a tremendous crew culture has been integral to thl’s success. Investing in sustainability and innovation are also priorities, including developing electric motorhomes.

The judges said thl is an amazing success story, revealing incredible vision and commitment in a fiercely competitive environment.

Congratulations to thl, a proud and active participant within the New Zealand tourism industry.

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Finalists
Sudima Hotels and Resorts

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

Winner: Owen River Lodge

Owen River Lodge is a boutique, luxury fly-fishing lodge, a short drive from the small town of Murchison.

When Felix Borenstein opened for business in 2003, his aim was to create New Zealand’s best fishing lodge. Fifteen years on, Owen River Lodge is recognised as an outstanding luxury visitor experience. Over the last four seasons, guest nights have increased by 60%; exceptionally, up to 35% are repeat bookings.

The judges said Owen River Lodge is a brilliant example of a luxury business that is delivering an exceptional customer experience across food and beverage, accommodation and guided fishing. It is a role model for tourism businesses everywhere and demonstrates the benefits of high value tourism to a small community.

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Finalists
Forgotten World Adventures

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Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights

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Department of Conservation Environmental Tourism Award

Winner: Kapiti Island Nature Tours

Kapiti Island Nature Tours operates a nature and cultural tourism experience on traditionally owned Maori land which has been part of its whanau for eight generations.

This successful business takes its role as kaitiaki of the land seriously. It collaborates with the Department of Conservation to protect Kapiti Island’s native flora and fauna, and was instrumental in assisting the island to become predator free.

The judges said Kapiti Island Nature Tours sends a message to other small businesses that you can run an operation that is both successful and sustainable.

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Finalists
Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl)

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Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony

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Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Industry Alignment Award

Winner: Hawke’s Bay Tourism

Hawke’s Bay Tourism has successfully aligned local councils, multiple business associations and 300-plus tourism operators to create one visitor website to promote the region.

It meant a major sacrifice for many stakeholders, as they were asked to turn off their digital footprint in favour of the new website www.hawkesbaynz.com. The result is a collaborative website that serves stakeholders far better than before, and delivers a superior visitor experience.

The judges said Hawke’s Bay Tourism demonstrated outstanding leadership to align the disparate players, overcome duplication and achieve excellent results with a groundbreaking initiative they hope will inspire others.

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Finalists

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Māori Tourism Award

Winner: Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd

Whale Watch Kaikoura offers visitors up-close encounters with marine mammals in their natural environment, with staff sharing their Maori culture through stories of connection to the whales, the ocean and whenua.

The business has achieved impressive results – sustainably, culturally and economically. Whale Watch Kaikoura also demonstrated leadership and resilience in the aftermath of the devastating Kaikoura earthquake, helping navigate the community along its recovery journey.

The judges said this 100% Maori-owned business cherishes the twin values of hospitality to visitors and reverence for the natural world.

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Finalists
Wharewaka o Poneke Enterprises Ltd

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The Great Journeys of New Zealand Tourism 2025 Enabler Award

Winner: Christchurch Airport

By 2013, following the Canterbury earthquakes, South Island regions had cumulatively lost
$1 billion in visitor expenditure.

Focusing on its role as a major enabler of tourism, Christchurch Airport created SOUTH – an organisation where the South Island’s 14 regions would jointly promote the island to offshore markets. It also introduced a business mentor programme, coordinated the industry following the Kaikoura earthquake,

and signed a partnership with Alibaba to help businesses unlock value from the Chinese market. These initiatives have helped return the South Island tourism industry to growth.

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Finalists
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED)

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NZ Cycle Trail Incorporated

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epay NZ Tourism Marketing Award

Winner: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s ‘A Better Way to Fly’ campaign is showing the tangible benefits of the airline taking a more strategic approach to its global marketing. Now a powerful, integrated campaign, ABWTF is lifting brand awareness and driving significant growth in inbound passenger numbers.

The campaign’s cheeky cartoon heroes, Dave the goose and Pete the kiwi, have generated more than 49 million video views globally and more than 900 PR placements in the US, UK, China and Argentina.

The judges said Air New Zealand is an iconic brand that is constantly striving to find innovative ways to emotionally connect with their customers. This campaign achieved just that, achieving outstanding results for the airline and New Zealand.

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Finalists

ServiceIQ Visitor Experience Award

Winner: GO Rentals

GO Rentals has grown to become a major player in the domestic car rental market with a fleet of over 3000 vehicles.

Its GO Visitor Experience Programme is all about the end-to-end customer experience – from initial contact and booking through to post-hire communication. Initiatives range from development of self-service kiosks to a partnership with over 200 local businesses providing customer discounts through its GO Play programme.

The judges said this Kiwi owned and operated business has done a phenomenal job of gearing everything it does towards delivering a world-class visitor experience.

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Finalists
Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari 

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NZME People's Choice Award

Winner: Forgotten World Adventures

Forgotten World Adventures offers rail cart journeys, jet boat and helicopter tours, and has opened a motel to encourage visitors to stay longer in the Taumarunui area.

This successful business is attracting travellers to a community off the traditional tourist track, with visitor numbers up by 30% in the past year.

Forgotten World Adventures was a finalist in the Westpac Business Excellence Award – Less than $6m Annual turnover and its founder and Managing Director Ian Balme, was a finalist in the PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award.

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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

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2017 Individual Award Winners

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

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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 

2017 Business Award Winners

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 & Finalists

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

2016 Individual Award Winners

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.

2016 Business Award Winners

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 & Finalists

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism 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

2015 Individual Award Winners

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.

2015 Business Award Winners

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