Maori warriors do not send the ‘wrong message’ to international visitors, says NZ Maori Tourism Chief Executive Pania Tyson-Nathan.
At the Tourism Industry Association Summit held in Wellington yesterday, NZ Maori Tourism Chief Executive Pania Tyson-Nathan spoke on the images that are widely used to sell New Zealand as a destination.
“What is beautiful to Maori, can sometimes leave potential and first time visitors, who haven’t engaged or interacted with Maori before, intimidated.
“We have found that it is not the moko that is confronting or intimidating to visitors.
“NZ Maori Tourism has embarked on a programme to expand the images that are used overseas for tourism promotions, rather than what has historically been used –images of Maori warriors.
“As a result, we have started to see images used that portray all aspects of Maori – and that has increased visitor numbers and interactions with Maori tourism operators.
“Maori culture is unique to New Zealand. To say that a part of it sends the ‘wrong message’ to international visitors is just plain wrong”, says Pania.