2021 has been a busy year for Tourism teachers in the Otago / Southland Region. 

Earlier this year, teachers from across the region participated in a one-day seminar on “Teaching Tourism in 2021: Southern Perspectives on Regenerative Tourism.” Held at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, just north of Dunedin, it was a fantastic opportunity for Tourism teachers from throughout the south to catch up, and for many to meet in person for the first time. The agenda was full and varied and included guest speakers who spoke from several different viewpoints.

The seminar began by musing quietly on quotes from Simon Upton, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and Hon. Stuart Nash, Minister of Tourism. (These can be seen in the full write up of the day here.)


Ngai Tahu mana wahine Nola Tipa (of Te Kaihinaki Consultancy) spoke and shared introductory details for schools’ closest marae. She spoke of the importance of Māori tourism education and urged teachers to not hold back from making contact with local marae, saying “Teachers; never ever be afraid of Te Ao Māori.” NZST’s US31070 and US31071 resources as good initial unit standards to offer students.

Next, Professor James Higham of the University of Otago’s Department of Tourism generously reprised a talk he had recently given to our parliamentarians, discussing important concepts in relation to the emerging tourism regeneration paradigm.

Restaurateur Fleur Sullivan gave the group some fascinating insights into geo gastronomy, or Food Tourism, including sharing a few of the challenges of running an internationally renowned fresh seafood restaurant in a small North Otago coastal village.

Later in the day Diana Davidson, of Service IQ, paid tribute to the invaluable inspiration and practical support Fleur has given to trainee chefs and aspiring hospitality professionals in southern Aotearoa over many years.

The group was then treated to a talk with Dunedin local Tahu Mackenzie, the lead Educator of Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and Otago Person of the Year. Tahu gave a short but thoroughly entertaining overview of the ecosanctuary and its education programme. A fantastic EOTC venue!

Annaliese O’Leary, from QRC, talked about training and careers in the tourism industry. She shared several student profiles, including her own journey in tourism.

The final speaker was Diana Davidson, Service IQ’S Senior Advisor Schools Compliance, who presented a welcome review of Tourism teachers’ feedback on Service IQ’s Tourism, Travel and Visitor Services unit standards. She was joined by Clare van Elst, the Otago/Southland Training Advisor, and Vanessa Mohi Goodchild, Service IQ’s Talent Supply Manager.

While some teachers stayed behind to discuss further upcoming planned changes to unit standards, others took the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the ecosanctuary, and still others jumped back on the road to begin their journey home. All teachers and speakers travelled to the venue from outside of Blueskin Bay; we are especially grateful to those who joined us from as far as Invercargill and Queenstown to participate in this important professional development opportunity