Tourism NZ denies sheep and haka blacklist
"Shame it's not true ... the haka is so yesterday."Featured comment
Tourism New Zealand denies it has blacklisted the haka or Maori culture from being filmed by international television crews.
The government-funded body wrote an internal report on international media coverage of the country after parts of America’s Next Top Model was filmed here in 2010.
It has now been reported that foreign television crews are being told not to film sheep and Maori culture, and that images of sheep should be “blacklisted”.
In an emailed statement to NBR ONLINE, Tourism NZ general manager of corporate affairs Chris Roberts disputes the claim, saying one statement in the report has been taken out of context by other media.
He says while there is never any suggestion Tourism NZ blacklists images of the haka or of Maori culture, the report warns extreme caution is needed when dealing with such images in the future.
“Future considerations: It is very difficult to feature Maori culture in American reality tv in a culturally appropriate and respectful way. This should be treated with extreme caution in the future, as there is no way to guarantee the outcome,” it says.
The review noted there are areas of improvement and that there more sheep shown in the America’s Next Top Model episodes than Tourism NZ would have preferred, Mr Roberts says.
“New Zealand being a land of sheep is a cliché that we try to move on from. These issues were specific to this project and we are not steering other foreign tv shows away from portraying Maori culture."
He acknowledged there were other shows which have a more natural fit with Tourism NZ, but says America’s Next Top Model still delivered on set targets.
It showcased the country to millions of viewers, significant subsequent airline tickets were booked and tourism officials saw a measurable return on investment.
The response comes a day after news an advertising contract to establish the "New Zealand story" to promote the country to overseas markets was awarded to Australian company Principals.
The agency is said to have been established by an ex-pat New Zealander and has a branch office in Auckland.
Economic development minister Steven Joyce's spokesman Simon Beattie told NBR ONLINE there is no policy which states such advertising campaigns must be done by New Zealand-owned agencies.
He says Principals was selected as the result of an open tender process.