Haka Tourism Group: Let's get this show on the road

By Stefan Dimitrof

Haka Tourism Group was the supreme winner of the New Zealand Tourism Awards in 2017 and in 2019 the group grew to incorporate Haka Tours, Haka Lodges and Haka Educational Tours. Then it was named New Zealand’s fastest-growing tourism brand at the Deloitte Fast 50.

Then came Covid ...

Today Haka Tourism Group general manager Eve Lawrence told Te Ao Tapatahi that the past two years have been incredibly difficult but “we are moving forward and the future looks pretty bright”.

The New Zealand border has reopened to vaccinated visitors from about 60 visa waiver countries - including the US, UK, Japan, and Singapore. What does it mean for the group?

Lawrence said she had a positive outlook for the future of tourism in New Zealand so much so that Haka Tourism would be on the hunt for “new recruits”.

“So, hopefully, we'll be able to build up our workforce and reinstate our scholarship programmes to build our workforce, so we're there and ready to service that market when it does return”.

Many tourism businesses have struggled to stay open and Lawrence said they were in the same boat. “I have to say we've done many restructures not just from unfortunately losing some of our initial whanau in the business but also having to really cut back on expenses.”

“The wage subsidy and resurgence support payments certainly helped and, without those, we might not have been here.”

Lawrence said that there was a priority to hire Māori at the company. “We actually offer a Māori tour leader tour manager scholarship programme, where we fund training to build them up to be a tour guide or tour leader for haka tours”.

“We provide today language funding scholarships. So yes, we have a few internal programmes”.