Constructing, contesting and consuming New Zealand's tourism landscape: a history of Te Wairoa

Bremner, Hamish
Moon, Paul
Bell, Claudia
Milne, Simon
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

The thesis focuses on documentation regarding the historical growth of tourism at Te Wairoa, Rotorua, New Zealand. Te Wairoa acted as a gateway to Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata of Rotomahana which represented an iconic tourism landscape in the nineteenth century. A theoretical engagement with tourism studies and the utilisation of history as an analytical device reveals that the consumption of the tourism landscape is an ongoing, contested, and negotiated cultural construction of place.The history of tourism development at Te Wairoa exhibits the entrenchment of European colonial power in New Zealand. However, within the structures of colonial authority, strategies of survival for the colonised are employed. In this particular case, the strategies include the engagement with Western ethics of capitalism, the manipulation and appropriation of symbols of the 'other', and the control of access through land ownership. The economic and social development of Te Wairoa, based on a tourism economy, also highlights the existent tensions in both a colonial and post-colonial relationship in New Zealand.The research further argues that individual tourism sites reflect culturally ascribed values associated with place. As the combination of exogenous and endogenous social, cultural, political and economic forces evolve so to does the production and consumption of the tourism landscape. Evidence for these considerations is provided by publicly available historical material including archival documents, historical literature, contemporary accounts, newspapers, and government records. The result is an in-depth study which provides an original and thematic interpretation of the history of Te Wairoa as well as supporting a model for investigating change in the cultural construction of place.

Tourism , New Zealand
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