Qualmark Gold Award – the Highest Recognition
Akaroa’s The Seventh Generation Tours has just been awarded a Qualmark GOLD, the highest recognition. As an owner operator that has only been in business for five years, including through the covid pandemic, local guide Marie Haley is thrilled with this award, ”I’ve worked really hard to create a regenerative tourism experience that has at it’s very core the ideas of belonging, hospitality, and protection of our history and natural environment for seven generations to come, I am just stoked to have the Qualmark Gold recognition”.
“Congratulations on receiving a Qualmark GOLD Award for your Sustainable Tourism Evaluation. Thank you for the mini tour we took around Akaroa, I found it fascinating and enlightening, and developed a whole new appreciation for the area and what I’ve been missing over there all these years! It’s wonderful to see such robust systems in place in a small business” stated the Qualmark Tourism Business Advisor.
“A Gold Award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences an integral part of everything they do. A Qualmark Gold Sustainable Tourism Award identifies those businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world class sustainable visitor destination.”
Qualmark Gold awards go to only around 10% of 2000 registered qualmark businesses in New Zealand, and it’s a difficult process to satisfy those requirements.
Marie also acknowledges the sustainable tourism advise from https://sustainabilityandresilience.co.nz with leading tourism research and advice and training via the Digital Boost platform.
Importance of Akaroa’s History – Secret is Out.
It’s been a tough few years for the local Goughs Bay resident, with the Christchurch Mosque attack, a storm that devastated the rural property and wiped out road access for months and the sudden covid closure of international boarders. But Marie has risen to these challenges and pivoted her business to the Aotearoa NZ Histories Curriculum that launches in 2023 which is now a core part of her business.
Marie is positive about the future of her tours and that of Akaroa ”it is such a privilege to be teaching our history not only to school children but to the teachers who are tasked to implement the new curriculum, It is an honour and responsibility to ensure that schools are aware of just how important and amazing Akaroa’s history is, with such national and international consequences to what played out here.”
Researchers recognise the narrative of Akaroa as being ‘as important as Waitangi’ and the secret is getting out, thanks largely to Takapuneke and the incredible work of Onuku Marae and the Akaroa Civic Trust in supporting them to gain recognition of the historic importance of Takapuneke as the site that led to the first British Resident to New Zealand and ultimately the Treaty of Waitangi.
It appears that as this history is recognised and Akaroa moves beyond just being a French town, it’s future will be different to it’s past.
Qualmark Gold – Representing Best Practice
The Seventh Generation was found to be representing industry best practice with a Qualmark gold in several areas Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga, Cultural Interpretation and Engagement. “The business can demonstrate a clear culture and value of Manaakitanga throughout their experiences”, “Kaitiakitanga is fully embraced as a business fundamental”, “The business actively encourages participation in its environmental stance/initiatives/culture to customers and staff”, “Cultural experiences and considerations are an integral part of the customer offering”.
Core Values of The Seventh Generation Tours:
Manaakitanga: Share stories that enhance, so that you leave better, so that you can know;
Tūrangawaewae: Know who you are, where you belong. So that you can;
Kaitiakitanga: Protect that which you love. For the;
The Seventh Generation Principle: for the generations coming after you, keeping in mind the generations that have come before.
Authentic Tourism Experiences – Go Where Other Tourists don’t GO!
Akaroa History and Nature Tour is a three hour tour, the first hour and a half takes you to five of the most important historic sites in New Zealand covering the full timeline of history, Tuhiraki – polynesian arrival, Takapuneke – first European involvement in inter-tribal warfare, Onuku, the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Britomart Monument – the first British demonstration of sovereignty over the South Island, Kemps Purchase – the forced sale of 8.1m hectares of Ngai Tahu land.
We then visit the Akaroa Heritage Park for afternoon tea, one of the most beautiful picnic spots in the world, before heading over the crater rim to the Wildside where we visit Hinewai Reserve and are inspired with what one man can do. We arrive at the sea cliffs at the End of the Earth and as we return to Akaroa take a trip into the future.
This tour is wide ranging and far reaching, And it goes where no other tours go, guests are surprised to be visiting some of the most important places in New Zealand to find that at every stop they are the only ones there.
Regenerative Tourism – Leading Tourism into the Future
New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment are the pillars demonstrated above and are assessed as part of attaining Qualmark GOLD:
Enhancing host communities; providing school education, adding value and showcasing the true Maori history of Te Pataka o Rakaihautu. Trustee of Banks Geopark.
Cultures, histories and stories; providing absolutely authentic Aotearoa New Zealand History to visitors and schools, domestic and international. Marie Haley is the #1 expert local guide.
Enhancing and restoring the environment; Teaching visitors about true sustainability with the example of Hinewai Reserve and The Seventh Generation Principle.
Carbon Neutral; The Seventh Generation measures carbon, reduces and manages offsetting programs by collecting eco-sourced native seed, germinating and planting out native plants in situ. Using certified programs Ekos and Tāne’s Tree Trust.
Sustainable economies, an innovative business that engages with research, Virtual Journeys, reducing seasonality and collaborating with businesses to enhance the local tourism destination.
How Does Qualmark Work?
Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation, providing a trusted guide to quality travel experiences in New Zealand.
Qualmark helps businesses become more sustainable from a people, planet and profit perspective. Qualmark assessments are thorough and conducted by a tourism specialist that helps businesses grow.
Read this to see what is a qualmark gold endorsement and how does it work.
Qualmark sustainability works with the Tiaki Promise to help businesses demonstrate their sustainability credentials, Qualmark gold businesses are those that are leaders in sustainability.
Focus on Sustainability and Authenticity
Sustainability is everything for The Seventh Generation, it’s even in our name check out what we are doing for our sustainability commitment to the Tiaki Promise as part of our Qualmark Gold recognition.