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Investment in Authentic Sustainable Cultural Tourism : Planning for the Future Benefit of Waikato-Tainui along the Waikato River, Case Studies at Tūrangawaewae and Te Awamārahi Marae

“Tērā ōkū hoa kei ngā tōpito e whā o te ao - My friends will come from all parts of the world” – Kīngi Tāwhiao 1822-1894 This doctorate is guided by the visions of the second Māori king, Kīngi Tāwhiao, which reflect the importance of global connections, relationships (Turongo House, 2000:109) and investment to achieve the ultimate goal of authentic or ‘true’ sustainability throughout the world. The strategic process will require a balance between humans and the natural environment to ensure long-term growth and survival. This research will investigate whether investment in Authentic Sustainable Cultural Tourism (ASCT) will provide long-term and sustainable benefits for tribes throughout New Zealand, using a study of Waikato-Tainui. ASCT, if practiced correctly, must be driven by whānau of marae, hapū and iwi alongside ideal long-term partners to ultimately achieve indigenous autonomy. ASCT prioritises the wellbeing of indigenous and local communities, cultural preservation and environmental sustainability while providing secure economic returns to key stakeholders. Today, tourism is New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing industry; total tourism expenditure is forecast to increase from $34.7b in 2016, an increase of 12.2% from the previous year, to $41b by 2025. The natural landscape is the main reason why international travellers visit New Zealand, followed by an interest in Māori culture (Tourism Industry Association, 2015). Unfortunately, there is sparse funding for Māori tourism development (New Zealand Māori Tourism, 2015; Goulter, 2015) compared to mainstream tourism and Māori are the most impoverished people in New Zealand (Statistics New Zealand, 2011). Cultural tourism has existed in New Zealand for more than 150 years and has a vital role in New Zealand’s tourism industry. Te Kīngitanga and the Waikato River are the main aspects that make Waikato unique in New Zealand, however, there is very little cultural tourism in the region. As a descendant of Waikato-Tainui, I work with my people at the marae level to inform tribal governance about the significant opportunities available to whānau compared to current mainstream investments by the tribe. Using Kaupapa Māori and critical realism, the methods used in this research include an investigation of government tourism organisations, interviews with Waikato-Tainui governance groups, case studies at Tūrangawaewae and Te Awamārahi Marae, case studies at fourteen successful Māori tourism providers throughout New Zealand, and an international comparison of best practices in indigenous tourism.  
Type of thesis
Cooper, M. T. W. T. R. (2018). Investment in Authentic Sustainable Cultural Tourism : Planning for the Future Benefit of Waikato-Tainui along the Waikato River, Case Studies at Tūrangawaewae and Te Awamārahi Marae (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11694
The University of Waikato
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