It’s not Tourism Bits of NZ


When you live in the country you get used to categories in forms not being specific enough.

Many ask for a city or, at best a town.

Facebook, for instance, keeps asking me to put my home city and gives me no option for living in the country.

That doesn’t particularly worry me as anyone close enough already knows where I live and those not so close don’t need to.

However, being able to tick the right box for your location matters a lot more for businesses, especially one in the tourism industry.

Oamaru tourist lodge owner James Glucksman is concerned that Tourism New Zealand is omitting Oamaru/Waitaki from its list of destinations.

Mr Glucksman who is owner/host of Pen-y-bryn Luxury Lodge with James Boussy in Oamaru, said the matter came to a head when Tourism NZ invited him to Luxperience, an annual trade show in Sydney to promote luxury travel around the world.

The forms he was sent to fill in specified destinations such as Nelson/Marlborough, and excluded Waitaki, mentioning only Dunedin and Southern Lakes. . . .

I checked the Tourism NZ website and on the page aimed at people bringing tourists to New Zealand found only Dunedin and Coastal Otago which, did lead me to Oamaru and the Waitaki District but all it said was:

Oamaru, well known for its white stone architecture.

Back on the homepage I clicked on Planning a holiday go to and there found that Waitaki is listed as a destination:

The Waitaki is a place of scenic contrast. Journey along the Waitaki Valley and the landscape changes from green pasture to the dryness of Central Otago.

Snow-capped peaks and beautiful lakes contrast with the bare brown hills that rise up from the valley floor.

Driving towards the mountains, stop and see the Earthquakes, an impressive formation of limestone cliffs. Nearby you’ll find Maori rock drawings made from red ochre, charcoal and animal fat.

Further along the highway, you come to Kurow, a farming town with many historically important limestone buildings. If you like fishing or hunting, this is a good place to stop. Kurow’s also a great place for a spin in a jet boat. 

All of which is good and true – but it’s tells only a very little of Waitaki’s story.

There’s more to the Waitaki Valley than is covered and a lot more to the Waitaki District – including Oamaru with its historic buildings, the Victorian precinct, little blue penguin colony, Steampunk HQ, Janet Frame’s family home . . . . and further afield you have Moeraki,  the Vanished World fossil trail, Alps to Ocean Cycle trail, and many other activities and attractions.

Tourism NZ is:

an international marketing agency responsible for marketing ‘destination New Zealand’ offshore. We market in 12 countries around the world, through more than 100 staff in 16 offices. . . .

It’s not Tourism just bits of New Zealand and destination New Zealand should include all tourist destinations.

Oamaru and the wider Waitaki District are now destinations in their own right. They should be recognised as such not a cursory add-on to Dunedin.

Mine is of course a parochial view but others from further afield share it.

We’ve had friends from all over the world who rave over what they discover in Oamaru and a young Auckland who spent a couple of days with us recently was fascinated and enthralled by what she discovered there.

I had an hour to kill while waiting for a try alignment on Monday and spent it in the historic precinct which was bustling with tourists so people are discovering it.

A little more help from Tourism NZ might direct more people this way.

Google is a traveller’s friend and will lead you to the Visit Oamaru website which would be far more helpful than the Toruism NZ website.

How hard would it be to have Oamaru and Waitaki as a destination on that website with a link to Visit Oamaru and to include them on forms used for trade shows?

Gingerbread cathedral


Oamaru’s  award-winning Pen-y-Bryn Lodge has many claims to fame including its category A listed historic house, its gourmet meals and its warm hospitality.

It is also has a reputation for the annual gingerbread creations which co-owners James Boussy and James Glucksman have been making since 1997.

This year’s was unveiled today:

The Oamaru Mail has another photo.

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