Haka Tourism Group was the big winner at Thursday night’s New Zealand Tourism Awards in Christchurch.
The Auckland-based operator and founder Ryan Sanders won all three of the categories they were nominated in and then capped the evening by picking up the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.
The 10-year-old firm won the Business Excellence award for companies with more than $6m annual turnover and the NZ Tourism Marketing award. Sanders won the Industry Champion award.
“We’re over the moon,” said Sanders, after receiving the Supreme Award. “You always wish for nights like this but the fact that it actually happened – unbelievable! I really can’t believe how I feel right now.”
Sanders said: “You’re not really supposed to say this but I always throw my hat in the ring and I always hope for the best and I always think we’re going to come out on top.
“I don’t think that’s arrogance but we are a results driven business and we always do the best that we can and we always think we’re going to win.”
The company had some big goals to achieve and the awards would help them build profile, he added.
On the Industry Champion Award, Sanders said: “It is great and I’m really proud to win it. I want to be in this industry for the next 30 years, I think I have a lot to give, so it does feel really good to win that award.”
In just over 10 years, Haka Tourism Group has expanded to include small group, adventure, snow and mountain bike tours, upmarket hostels, a specialist educational brand and high-end snow tours. This year it is opening its first two hotels to support the tourism industry’s strong visitor growth.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said Haka Tourism Group was an inspirational tourism success story that had strong links with the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework. Driven by cutting edge digital marketing and brand positioning, the business is growing at an average of 80% year-on-year, with revenues for the next 12 months on track to exceed $17m.
As part of their Supreme Award prize, Haka Tourism Group receives international air travel to any Air New Zealand destination valued at $10,000 (+GST) to help them grow their tourism business.
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline was delighted to support the New Zealand Tourism Awards’ Supreme Tourism Award for a third year.
“As our tourism industry continues to grow, it’s great to celebrate those who are building excellent and innovative tourism businesses and delivering outstanding experiences for our visitors to New Zealand and who are committed to contributing to our country’s reputation overseas.”
The New Zealand Tourism Award 2017 winners:
Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award
JLT & AIG Business Excellence Award – more than $6 million annual turnover epay NZ Tourism Marketing Award
Haka Tourism Group
Auckland Airport Tourism Industry Champion Award
Ryan Sanders – Haka Tourism Group
Crowe Horwath International Sir Jack Newman Award (outstanding industry leader)
PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award
Shayne Forrest – Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours
Sudima Hotels & Resorts Tourism 2025 Enabler Award
Queenstown Resort College
Westpac Business Excellence Award – less than $6 million annual turnover
Department of Conservation Environmental Tourism Award
Sudima Hotels & Resorts
MBIE Industry Alignment Award
Tourism West Coast
He kai kei aku ringa Māori Tourism Award
Kapiti Island Nature Tours
ServiceIQ Visitor Experience Award
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
NZME People’s Choice Award