Economic Impact of Educational Trips to Marae

This research was conducted by NZTRI’s deputy director, Hamish Bremner, in conjunction with Keri-Anne Wikitera and Owen Ormsby, both from Te Ara Poutama (AUT University’s Faculty of Māori Development). This research measures the direct economic impact of three organised educational trips to marae in Rotoiti, Nuhaka, and Rotorua. The research was also designed to assess differences in service as perceived by providers and participants, and to also develop research skills for those Maori students and staff undertaking the study.

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December, 2006
September, 2006
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Executive Summary:

The research measured the direct economic impact of three organised educational trips to marae in Rotoiti, Nuhaka, and Rotorua. Expenditure of the visitors (n=129) was measured through the distribution of an ‘expenditure diary’ to participants prior to their departure. Further economic information was obtained from the participating marae to determine their spending in the local region.

The use of economic multipliers, to measure the indirect and induced impact, was inappropriate as there is a lack of local ‘input-output’ economic data as well as the variable accounting practices at marae level. Furthermore, applying ‘western’ models of economic impact do not consider culturally specific modes of operation which creates a complex ‘informal economy’ that revolves around aroha (love), manakitanga (hospitality), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), and koha (donation).

Analysis of the data revealed that the direct economic impact of the three trips ranged from $7,778.00 to $11,055. The ‘total spend’ at the marae and the surrounding destination is not considered a large amount although the injection of $8,000.00 into a rural region with 300 residents with an unemployment rate of 16 percent is significant. Further analysis indicated that 38% of visitor spending occurred at the point of departure and en-route while 12.5 % was spent at the destination area. The participating marae received 49.5% of the total spend although the profit margin was estimated to be only 7%. This suggests that money is not the key motivator for providing such a service with the opportunity to share/explain local Māori culture considered more important.