Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana | Specialist Consultant
Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.
With your food basket, and mine, the people will thrive.
This whakataukī, or Māori proverb, articulates the aspirations and expectations the community of Hurunui have for the visitor economy into the future. These were gathered through purposeful stakeholder and community engagement sessions held within Hurunui, combined with Social Pinpoint, an online community consultation tool used by TRC Tourism.
There is an expectation that as visitors are welcomed into Hurunui and engage with the people and place of the district, the benefits they provide back to local communities are tangible and understood. The reciprocal relationship between the host and the traveller should uplift all involved and provide a platform on which to develop a resilient and sustainable tourism eco-system.
The shared vision for the district helps to articulate this aspiration.
Hurunui is a place where visitors come to lift their spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing. In turn their visit enriches the health and wealth of our communities and environments.
The Hurunui Destination Management Plan, is designed to work towards achieving that vision through:
- Becoming an iconic self-drive destination – with a lack of public and private transport connections, the roading network is the only way to access Hurunui as a whole, and as such, an important supporting theme for this plan, is to turn that limitation into a strength, and build the destination’s reputation as an iconic self-drive destination. Hurunui’s proximity to Christchurch, an official touring route, high natural scenic values and compelling visitor benefits and attributes, offer travellers a variety of reasons to slow down and savour the destination.
- Developing visitor experiences that strengthen the destination’s value proposition – when visitors choose to spend time in a destination, they are going to engage with the people, place, stories and products of the district, building experiences, memories and at times, friendships that last a lifetime. Powerful destination management ensures that the experiences offered to the visitor exceed their expectations, deliver high satisfaction levels, and build a network of advocates who extol the virtue of the destination to potential visitors into the future. When developing experiences, it is also important to ensure that they meet the needs of current visitors as well as those of the future.
- Targeted destination marketing – Hurunui as a destination and a district suffers from a lack of awareness and visibility as a holiday destination, more so internationally than domestically. Building awareness of the broader district is an integral step to successful implementation of the destination management plan. It will be necessary to be quite targeted with their campaigns and engage the emotions of potential visitors. Tactical activations that speak to the benefits visitors will gain from a Hurunui experience, and how the communities of the district will see high value from the visitor economy
- Effective destination management – a strong recommendation within the plan is to ensure that the district has the appropriate leadership, management and structures in place to assist in achieving the key recommendations made. This is not just unique to Hurunui, but a challenge faced by most, if not all regions throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand. Alongside this necessity, is gaining a better understanding of what funding is currently available to resource destination management for Hurunui, and potential funding streams for the identified working streams moving forward.