Waka Maori surfs wave of popularity – Sharples

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Survey results released today show visitors to te Waka Maori during Rugby World Cup 2011 rated the experience as highly or higher than other RWC 2011 events and venues.

Almost 180,000 people visited Waka Maori and survey respondents reported an average satisfaction rating of 8.2 out of 10; and 27 percent gave it ten out of ten, said Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

Results of similar surveys were 7.7 out of 10 for the Fan Zone and the Cloud, and 7.8 out of 10 for the REAL New Zealand Festival, said Dr Sharples.

Over 60 percent of visitors stayed for over an hour, and visitors spent, on average, around $50 each, which means te Waka Maori directly contributed an estimated $9 million to the Auckland economy, he said.

Events held at te Waka Maori allowed Maori and overseas business people to establish relationships that they planned to follow up; and events for foreign media representatives helped boost New Zealands profile in every corner of the world.

Overall, this survey has confirmed that te Waka Maori achieved what the Government and Ngati Whatua set out to do to celebrate and teach people about the rich Maori cultural heritage of Aotearoa, and to showcase the contribution of Maori to New Zealands artistic, cultural, sporting and economic life, said Dr Sharples.

When you recall the impact the RWC opening ceremony had, with Maori culture as its foundation, one message is clear tikanga Maori give us a huge advantage in the way we promote Aotearoa to the world, and we can all benefit directly by recognising and celebrating our unique heritage, he said.

A copy of the full Waka Maori survey report can be found at www.tpk.govt.nz

Media contact: Andrew Robb 029- 482 8494 or 04- 817 6772

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