Tāmaki Makaurau opens up with helping hands for tourism industry

By Taroi Black

On the same day the borders around Tāmaki were opened, the target of 90 per cent double vaxxed has been reached in the city.

And, with lots of New Zealanders planning trips to the city, Auckland Council has come up with  100,000 summer vouchers up for grabs in four tranches to 'Explore Tāmaki Makaurau' and enjoy a range of experiences.  

On top of that its agency, Auckland Unlimited is offering $9 million to support local businesses, especially Maori and Pasifika ones that want to apply for contestable funds to put on activities or more programming for visitors to experience.

It's part of an effort that sees local businesses being supported after Aucklanders felt the brunt of Delta in a lockdown that lasted over four months.

So, to make summer more enjoyable, people can register on Bookme to receive either one $100 family voucher or one $50 individual voucher to experience attractions and activities. 

Opportunities for Maori and Pasifika businesses are being promoted.

Ngāi Tai tells its own story

For example, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki has recently reached a deal with Explore Group, a tourism operator that runs tours over the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana will collaborate with iwi to tell their stories. 

Ngāi Tai CEO Tama Potaka is excited for his own iwi, which will get the opportunity to experience a whale watch tour on their moana.

"Ngāi Tai are people of the sea and land."

"People can visit our Motutapu a Taikehu Island too. That's what we've planned by reviving our stories as people of the sea here in Tāmaki Makaurau."

But Potaka says the tourism industry in Auckland is struggling because of the Covid pandemic.

Mayor Phil Goff is encouraging Aucklanders to make the most of the opportunity to get out and explore their region over the summer months.

'Win for Māori businesses'

“I welcome this programme which helps recognise the huge sacrifices that Aucklanders have made since August to help keep the rest of the country safe,” he says.

“With the city having now transitioned to the Covid-19 Protection Framework and Aucklanders enjoying many of their freedoms once again, this is a great way to acknowledge Aucklanders for their hard work and support them to have a proper Kiwi summer."

Auckland Unlimited also supports Māori and Pasifika businesses and Its director of investment and industry, Pam Ford, is urging more businesses to apply. 

"Our iwi or cultural organisations can apply for the contestable funds to put on activities or more programming. So it's really a win for our Māori businesses in the tourism sector," she says. 

"It's also a win for Aucklanders who might get to experience a Māori visit they haven't thought of in the past."