Cashing in on our harbour
What's so great about the Manukau Harbour?
A new study aims to find out exactly what visitors and locals like doing in and around the huge body of water.
But some additional funding is needed before the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute and Manukau Harbour Restoration Society can get started.
It's hoped that will come from the nine local boards that sit along the harbour's coastline.
The first part of the study would be a web-based audit of all attractions, businesses and other relevant locations near the harbour by academics at the institute, which is based at Auckland University of Technology.
"It pulls together various spots that visitors might be interested in visiting," institute associate director Carolyn Deuchar says.
Once the audit's complete all the locations will be placed on Google Maps as a resource for various groups to use.
That will be followed by a survey of locals and visitors who use the harbour.
It will focus on questions such as:
What's the experience of coming to the Manukau Harbour and what's missing?
What are people doing now and what are they spending money on?
How are they getting here?
What do they love about the place or dislike?
The answers could provide new visitor experiences around the harbour, Ms Deuchar says.
"Some visitors are looking for local stories and places to go. Not everybody wants to go to Ponsonby and Waiheke Island."
The insights will be valuable for locals and businesses alike, along with providing insights about how the harbour could develop in the future, she says.
"Tourism's not just about people getting off cruise ships and airplanes.
"It's about Uncle Fred and Auntie Eileen who come up from Whakatane spending money in our economy.
"It's also about getting Aucklanders out and seeing the city. It makes sense that the money stays here."
Ms Deuchar is hoping data can be collected over the high season, which starts next month.
Manukau Harbour Restoration Society member Bronwen Turner says if the survey gets the green light, it will look at the western, central and southern parts of the harbour in different ways.
"What works in Waitakere is different from Awhitu. It's about understanding each area. How do we make the most of that and do it in a sustainable way?"
"How do we build on what we have got?"
Community interaction will be a key factor in making sure the survey works well.
The response from local boards has been positive so far, she says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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