Govt unveils New Zealand Story toolkit for export businesses

Hobbits, yacht design and international celebrity chef Peter Gordon join the obligatory mountain peaks and coastal visas in a new toolkit of material designed to allow New Zealand businesses to tell a consistent story about the country to the rest of the world.

The New Zealand Story, launched by Prime Minister John Key in Wellington today, is intended to complement rather than replace Tourism New Zealand's 100% Pure marketing campaign, and answers growing demand from local firms from outside the tourist sector for a more relevant articulation of the country's strong points.

Drawing on the country's reputation for integrity and openness as well as its natural scenery, the New Zealand Story materials will be available online for use by any New Zealand business.

The resulting imagery, video and other materials emphasise a story of "open spaces, open hearts, and open minds" which it is hoped will be applicable across a swathe of New Zealand export enterprises from information technology to food and beverage and the creative sector.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told BusinessDesk he did not envisage the New Zealand Story becoming a mass market campaign, although versions of the story could be adapted and used by sectors or individual firms for campaign purposes.

He will take a Mandarin version to China next week to support a food exporters' tour and will unveil a version tomorrow in Christchurch for use by the international education sector, which seeks to attract foreign students to study in New Zealand.

The materials are available at

"When New Zealand exporters first go out into the world or visit a new market, they need something which places New Zealand and their business into context.

"We are a small country and often outsiders don't understand who we are and what drives us," said Joyce in a statement. "This initiative is about broadening the perception of New Zealand."

A New Zealand Story Group will oversee the use and development of the brand materials, although they will be freely available to any user, subject to registration on the website.

A private sector chair has yet to be named, but non-government participants already involved on the steering group are reality television producer Julie Christie, Craggy Range winery founder Steve Smith, and president of the Designers Institute of New Zealand with a background in Maori economic development, Karl Wixon.

Chief executives representing six government agencies will also be on the group: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

While initial conceptual work was undertaken by an Australian branding agency, Principals, the visual representation is the work of the New Zealand arm of international brand and design firm, DesignWorks, and the top-end, home-grown advertising consultancy The Assignment Group.

Some $3 million of funding has gone to the project already and has an indicative annual budget for the next financial year of $2.3 million, funded from baseline funding of the government agencies on the steering group.