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Tairawhiti-Gisborne the first light

Tairawhiti-Gisborne the first Light <<<  Tairawhiti-Gisborne the first light


Rehette Stoltzby Rehette Stoltz   -  August 20, 2016


ACTIVATE Tairawhiti should be congratulated on the visionary effort which most of us casually refer to as the Air New Zealand proposal.

Some people incorrectly assume that it is a council project, when in fact it has been the brainchild of the economic development agency. This came about when Air New Zealand announced their increased seat capacity starting mid-2016 in and out of our region with the introduction of the Q300 planes on the Wellington route. This followed the successful introduction of the bigger planes on the Auckland route. Marketing our beautiful region effectively was identified as the way forward to get more of these flights filled. A win for us and a win for Air New Zealand.

Possible barriers identified were the lack of consistent marketing, where we as a region speak with one united voice when we announce our place in the world. So Activate Tairawhiti worked together with other stakeholders to make sure we can speak with one voice.

As a matter of fact, this proposal pulled together a wide range of local stakeholders to brainstorm and contribute to what we value here in our place. The local stakeholders included Tourism Eastland, local iwi, Eastland Group, Chamber of Commerce, Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti, Gisborne District Council, The Gisborne Herald, local businesses and operators, Te Ha Trust and members of our local wine industry. Each one of these entities brings with them a large network of members and contributors. Collaboration like this has not been seen here before.

Air New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Tourism New Zealand were external stakeholders that came into play later in the process.

First things first — more than a year ago, brainstorming sessions began on what we value here in our place. Input was varied, rich and honest. It was valued local input on what makes us proud to live here. Different sectors brought their individual flavour, but it did not take long to identify and line up the reasons why we choose to live here in the beautiful Tairawhiti and what we have on offer to potential visitors.

Think first light, think splendid isolation, beautiful beaches and surf breaks, think our unique bi-cultural identity and our award-winning wines (to name a few) and you are spot on.

Only after all the local stakeholders agreed on what we value did Air New Zealand, MBIE and Tourism New Zealand come on board to assist us with funding and their massive research and marketing expertise.

We all know that Air New Zealand has some of the best targeted marketing campaigns in the world, and that they know how to speak to their customers in a well-researched, focused way. So we were very lucky to have access to one of their valued market research companies to do targeted research for our region.

They focused on who would want to visit our region, what are the barriers keeping them from coming here and how we should present ourselves to prospective visitors. A lot of what they said was not new to us. Most people identify with Tairawhiti, Gisborne and our wonderful placement in the world — first light — so we have a winning combination to work with.

A marketing team has put together the broad architecture on how we should market our region, and in the near future we will transition to a more locally-led process. Exciting times ahead.

We should also congratulate Eastland Community Trust for seeing the value in this transformational proposal and “giving it wings”.