Ngāti Porou soars with Air NZ partnership

By Rahia Timutimu

From this December produce sourced from Ngāti Porou will be served on board Air New Zealand flights, one of the many results of the partnership between the national carrier and the East Coast Iwi.

But this is just the start to generate further economic and social growth with the iwi says Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon.

“We've got great relationships with iwi all across the country, but the partnership and friendship with Ngati Porou has really been quite special,” says Luxon, “we’re very committed to this place. Once we got to know each other there was some common interest that emerged, Ngati Porou want to build premium high quality tourism experiences, there's three projects that we're working with the region about building tourism.”

These three projects will build tourism and sustainability in the Tairawhiti region which includes an Mt Hikurangi experience, learning about navigation on a Waka Hourua and the Chardonnay Express.

"In Te Tairawhiti it’s not going after the bulk tourists, we’re after the premium, wealthy visitor to take their money and make sure it’s used across the whole tourism sector,” says Luxon, “and in Te Tairawhiti we have the opportunity to leap frog and offer high quality tourism experiences. Those customers might pay a lot for those experiences but they leave there knowing they've had tremendous value, they've been enriched and they've had a cultural engagement which is meaningful, real and authentic.”

Before Christmas Air New Zealand customers will also be treated to Ngati Porou produced honey and fish on their flights.

“They have some great local produce that we want to put on our aircraft, admits Luxon, “Ngati Porou fisheries have actually gone out and smoked fish, they’ve got manuka honey. These are the products we've worked through and they've gone through the auditing process and standardised processes to be able to bring them to our supply chain.”

But the agreement goes further, Ngāti Porou will also sell carbon credits from its forests to Air NZ to meet its ETS obligations.

From the 30th of November Air New Zealand will also have direct flights to Chicago.