The Government has announced its support of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic sites, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, as it continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Carmel Sepuloni says $3 million will be reprioritised in a one-off investment to support the Waitangi National Trust Board.
“The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a taonga that we should protect and look after. This additional support will mean people can continue to embrace, learn about and enjoy the strands, stories and experiences of the treaty grounds and the history it represents,” the Minister said.
“It is critical we invest now to ensure the economic recovery of the region, while supporting one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic sites.”
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a key visitor and tourist attraction in Northland. Tourism accounts for approximately 10% of the region’s employment and approximately 7% of the region’s GDP pre-COVID.
“We also know that strong tourism in the regions means greater support for hundreds of businesses. Tourism spending in the region was in excess of $1.1 billion pre-COVID, and this is something we want to continue to grow and nurture,” the Minister said.
“Pre-COVID, over 113,000 visitors visited the Treaty Grounds and nearly 10,000 students were able to learn about the grounds by visiting. It’s clear that Waitangi is the Northland region’s single greatest attraction which is why this investment will ensure the Trust are fully equipped to care for the Treaty Grounds for future visitors, students and generations to enjoy.
“Cruise ships have started to return to the Bay of Islands, and visitor numbers are gradually starting to increase. Supporting the Trust will help them to make the most of the return of tourists and contribute to the Northland economy,” she said.