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Te Puia | NZMACI to part own and manage Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Te Puia | NZMACI to part own and manage Waimangu Volcanic Valley

The world’s youngest geothermal system, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, has been part-purchased by Te Puia l New Zealand M?ori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), in partnership with local iwi Te Mana o Ng?ti Rangitihi and T?hourangi Tribal Authority.

A media release from Te Puia says that with a unique geothermal and eco-tourism visitor proposition, Waimangu will continue to operate as a separate entity. Te Puia will manage Waimangu on behalf of the partnership, complementing its existing geothermal and cultural manuhiri (visitor) offering in Te Whakarewarewa Valley.

Te Puia | NZMACI Chairman, Harry Burkhardt says the Waimangu Volcanic Valley was created following the Tarawera eruption – the same eruption which saw the T?hourangi people relocate to Te Whakarewarewa Valley, the home of Te Puia and NZMACI.

“The purchase of Waimangu is almost a coming of a full circle, which is a lovely development. We’re extremely humbled to be invited by iwi interests to be involved in this significant partnership and we’re pleased to see the business returning to mana whenua, which was the wish of Waimangu’s kaitiaki, the late Harvey James.”

Mr James, who passed away in February this year, was an award-winning environmental tourism leader and the recipient of a Rotorua District Council community leadership award for his work with the natural environment.

“This investment provides a wonderful opportunity to build on the work undertaken by Harvey and we feel a keen sense of responsibility to continue this legacy and vision,” says Mr Burkhardt

“We will be working with his wife Trudi and other existing staff to ensure Waimangu continues to celebrate the world’s youngest geothermal system in a sustainable fashion, showcasing its unique attributes to visitors from around New Zealand and the rest of the world.

“Our immediate priority is ensuring a smooth transition into the business, growing M?ori capability in the M?ori economy and tourism sector, and making an even greater contribution to our region.

“For both Te Puia and Waimangu, it will be business as usual for both operations as we enter this exciting phase.”

Trudi James, from Waimangu Volcanic Valley, says Harvey would have been thrilled to transfer his life’s work and passion to a partnership of Ng?ti Rangitihi and T?hourangi Tribal Authority. 

“This partnership returns management of Waimangu Volcanic Valley to mana whenua and will extend the partnership created at the Te Ariki Crossing and the Waimangu Round Trip.

“We are confident we have chosen the perfect partners to continue Harvey’s vision of leading New Zealand in sustainable environmental tourism and his commitment to preserve the Valley for future generations to study and enjoy.

“The attraction carries a Qualmark Gold Award which recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences an integral part of everything we do. We know that this was an important feature for our new owners,” says Mrs James.

Te Puia general manager sales and marketing Kiri Atkinson-Crean says Waimangu and Te Puia have many attributes that will complement and enhance the respective operations.

“While both have geothermal features, the two businesses are completely unique and appeal to different markets – and different segments within those markets.

“Waimangu has carved out a niche as an established eco-tourism business and it has many stunning and distinctive features.

“Amongst its highlights are Lake Rotomahana, formed following the Tarawera Eruption and with its own separate geothermal system. The lake, along with its surrounding environment, has been completely protected ever since and the wider valley is home to internationally recognised geothermal features and unspoilt natural areas.

“In turn, Te Puia combines its legacy as one of the birthplaces of tourism in New Zealand, with its world-famous Te Whakarewarewa Valley, P?hutu geyser and philosophy of manaakitanga, with an important and deep M?ori cultural and arts offering.

“Waimangu has strong potential to grow and enhance its solid reputation in the market and our existing tourism and operational experience means we can add significant value to the business. We’re looking forward to joining forces and showcasing our offerings to the world.”

This announcement comes as work forges ahead on $22 million site developments at Te Puia l NZMACI. These include a new W?nanga Precinct for the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving, as well as a 300-seat Whare Kai (restaurant and function centre).

Posted: Tuesday 8 August 2017