NZ Māori Tourism hosted the second ever Māori tourism Dragons' Den in Ōtautahi in August, 2019. We reflect back on the wonderful event that saw $70,000 invested into the Māori tourism sector. By Amy Hodgkinson.
THE second Māori tourism Dragons’ Den was held in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. We received nearly 80 applications across the categories, with Bring your idea to life the most popular category. We knew the Taniwha were going to have a tough time as they scored the applications to find the finalists who would present in front of the Taniwha and live audience in Christchurch. The Taniwha took their role very seriously, as evidenced by the numerous hours put in to scoring, the thoughtful feedback provided to all applicants, and the intense discussions following the finalists’ presentations!
The 10 finalists had to refine their pitch down to three minutes and be prepared to answer any question the Taniwha asked, and they definitely asked some curly questions but all the finalists were able to reply with well thought out, clear answers, and even with a bit of humour thrown in (Rewi had the room cracking up when asked how he’d cater for vegetarians, with his reply that ‘cows are vegetarian, they eat grass’!)
The best thing about Dragons’ Den is how supportive everyone is. People genuinely want the best for not only the finalists but all applicants, and everyone pitches in to help with advice, suggestions and connections. When one of our finalists made the plea for help with pricing his experience well, he had offers of help from several people in the room by that evening. One of our other finalists from this year has already been visited by one of our winners from the inaugural Māori tourism Dragons’ Den, held last year! This is what our Māori tourism community is about – helping each other because it’s just what we do!
To everyone that applied this year, keep forging ahead with your Maori tourism dream and use the connections you mad with other Māori tourism experiences, NZ Māori Tourism, your lwi and your local regional tourism organisation to help. There is so much support out there and people who are able to help. As Rewi Spraggon, of the Maori Kitchen put it, ‘For those that missed out this year for Dragons’ Den give it a go next year, don’t give up on your dreams’. Rewi was a finalist in 2018, and won the Dragons’ Wow Us Award in 2019.