Doctoral Research Abstract
The evolving meaning of Maori village visits for Chinese tourists in New Zealand
Maori involvement in tourism in New Zealand dates back to over 140 years ago, such involvement has centred on Rotorua in New Zealand’s North Island. Maori cultural tourism has been traditionally developed to cater to the taste of Western tourists, who were the major patrons of the New Zealand tourism business before the surge of Chinese tourists into the country a decade ago. Researchers argue that Western touristic representations portray the Maori people in New Zealand as ancient, stagnant and thus open to all the exotic fantasies for tourists, such representations perpetuate the colonial ideology of the past, and are embedded with a colonial discourse adding to Edward Said’s notion of Orientalism.
With the rapid economic development and a bourgeoning number of middle-class, Chinese tourists are starting to travel around the world, and becoming one of the major visitor markets to many destinations, New Zealand is no exception to this trend. China is now New Zealand’s fastest growing market for international visitors. It has become the second largest market in terms of visitor arrival numbers and expenditure since 2012. How does Maori cultural tourism fare with the new Chinese customers? Data from the Ministry of tourism showed when international tourists from different countries visit New Zealand, they have different preference for Maori cultural tourism products, among them, Chinese tourists have the highest propensity to participate in Maori cultural activities (65% of all Chinese tourists). The analysis of Chinese tourists’ New Zealand travel blogs reveals that most Chinese tourists experience Maori culture through Maori village visitation in Rotorua.
Through analysing the travel blogs of Maori village visitors from China, and in depth interview with Chinese tourists, this research is exploring the evolving meaning of Maori village visit for Chinese tourists. Why do Chinese tourists visit them? What do they make of them? What is their source of information? What is the nature of the experience?
The answer to these questions will help the New Zealand Maori cultural tourism sector to realise greater value from the China visitor market.
Bachelor of Economics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, 1998
Master of Science, South Dakota State University, 2002
Master of Commerce, University of Otago, 2014
Primary Research Interests
Chinese outbound tourism
Chinese tourists gaze
Chinese tourists imaginaries
Tour 101: Introduction to Tourism tutoring, 2015