Providing stability and continuity while helping to guide evolution and change at Tourism New Zealand will be the top priority for new board chair Jamie Tuuta.
Tuuta was appointed to the top job earlier this month after becoming acting chair since the departure of Dame Kerry Prendergast at the end of March. He joined the board in March 2013 making him one of its longest serving members.
Speaking to the Ticker at TRENZ in Rotorua, Tuuta said he wanted to ensure TNZ played a part in enriching the lives of New Zealanders.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be part of an organisation that plays a vital role for New Zealand. But with that is extreme responsibility and obligation to ensure we do it right and do it well,” he says.
“It’s not easy but it requires us to lead, not in an arrogant way, but in a way that speaks to who we are. It’s amazing to be part of that.”
Tuuta brings to the post a wealth of governance experience as the chair of Māori Television, Te Ohu Kaimoana, the body set up to oversee Māori fisheries assets throughout New Zealand, and the conservation project Taranaki Mounga.
He was the Māori Trustee and chief executive of Te Tumu Paeroa, an organisation responsible for managing nearly 100,000 hectares of land and more than $100m worth of assets and investments and is currently a director of Moana New Zealand, an export fishing company, and Taranaki Whānui Ltd, an iwi investment entity.
Hailing from Urenui, north of New Plymouth, and affiliated with a number of Taranaki iwi, the Waikato University trained lawyer received the Young Māori Business Leader Award at the Aotearoa NZ Māori Business Leaders Awards in 2015. That followed his winning of the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leadership Award in 2010.
“I’m a big believer in ensuring you have a breadth of experiences and have been exposed to various sectors because it can bring different perspectives about things that may not be available in the tourism sector,” says Tuuta.
Now, he will be leveraging all of that experience to help guide Tourism New Zealand through the next stage of its evolution.
“From a governance board level, it’s about continuity, it’s about stability as we move to this next phase of our evolution,” he says.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall announced last year that the 100% Pure NZ brand campaign would see more people and cutural elements included. The presentation in June of TNZ’s next 100% Pure NZ campaign will show how that shift has affected the promotion.
“This year will mark the further evolution of that, which really speaks to those three core elements that we think makes New Zealand a unique proposition, not only to our international visitors but also to New Zealanders: people, place and culture,” says Tuuta.
“This year marks 20 years since the launch of 100% Pure New Zealand, and there’s been much discussion over the 20 year period about the brand but it’s fair to say it’s been one of the most successful – if not the most successful – tourism brand campaign globally.”
Such enduring success means significant changes to the brand can only happen over time, including adding more cultural components.
“It’s got to resonate and speak to our markets but it also has to hold true and speak to our people here in NZ,” says Tuuta.
“Culture is something we should celebrate as New Zealanders in general, and you are starting to see that in terms of the values that are being adopted, but what we need to do is understand when we are looking to promote NZ in other markets is, what is the best way to do that?”
It’s a journey, adds Tuuta.
“TNZ like many firms and companies are on a journey on how to embrace Māori culture, the values and how they live and breath them. And it’s not about tokenism, it’s about how to be true to them. We’ve come a long way as an organisation and we have further work to do but it’s exciting,” he says.
“I’ve been part of the board for five years now and I’ve witnessed the evolution and the success and I’m immensely proud to be part of the ogrganisastion.”
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