Hospitality and Tourism news archive

Tourism Symposium a success for teachers

Professor Mark Orams discussing why tourism matters.

January 2012

A focus on producing the best possible tourism graduates for New Zealand’s largest export industry has seen secondary schools and a tertiary education provider in Auckland join forces.

With the help of AUT University, a goal of forming an Auckland Tourism Teachers' Association is one step closer.

AUT hosted a successful Tourism Teachers' Symposium in November, held at the School of Hospitality and Tourism which saw tourism teachers from all over the Auckland region come together.

The overall goal of the symposium and the reason AUT was interested in being involved was to raise the profile of tourism as a subject in secondary schools.

"There is a mismatch between tourism at secondary school level and how it is taught at tertiary level and we wanted to help address that," says Megan Roberts, Programme Leader for the Diploma in Travel and Tourism at AUT.

The symposium was put together by Dr Hamish Bremner, Associate Director of the NZ Tourism Research Institute at AUT, and Julia Tod, Rangitoto College teacher in charge of tourism and professional development.

Attendees the opportunity to participate in learning and teaching workshops as well as hear from a range of speakers including AUT Professor of Tourism Mark Orams (pictured).

Industry speakers were also prominent with presentations from Air New Zealand (who sponsored a prize for the symposium) and AA Tourism.

Tod says as a tourism teacher herself she was passionate to see a tourism networking association get off the ground and approached AUT about providing a venue.

She says tourism as a subject, although popular, is not attracting the top-grade students she would like to see, so giving teachers in the region a chance to hone their skills and learn from one another was really important.

"In my personal opinion, which was very much the focus of the symposium workshop, I feel it is important for us as educators to be delivering challenging, credible tourism classes, which help transition students onto tertiary education."

Feedback from the symposium was very positive says Roberts, and she believes the symposium was a great start.

"Anything that we can do to encourage students to study tourism at a tertiary level while also helping them transition is fantastic."

Tod says the next step for the teachers involved will be to formally establish an Auckland Tourism Association and continue with the achievements of the symposium.

Event Management students hear from experts

October 2011

A team of people responsible for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup took time out last week to talk to AUT University Event Management students about what it was like working as part of the biggest sporting event ever to hit New Zealand shores.


The RWC Opening Ceremony Forum was open to all events students and was coordinated to help the students get an understanding of how the opening ceremony came together.

The students heard from John Baxter, the AV content director, Robin Rawstorne, the director of design, Desiree Matchett who was the cast coordinator as well as an AUT student and Angela Hicks, stage manager along with the ceremonies coordinator and one of the performers.

Lexie Matheson, the programme leader for event management and Tatjana Ratsdorf an event management lecturer initiated the forum.

"The forum's aim was to provide the audience with a well rounded perspective of the RWC opening ceremony from design, stage management, operations and cast.

At the end of the forum, as a result of the first hand experiences that are being shared by the forum speakers, participants should have an understanding of how this world class opening ceremony came together and what it feels like to be involved in such an event," they said.

The students were shown a DVD of the ceremony and talked through different aspects of its set-up and design right through to the final night when everything had to come together.

All of the speakers said the opening ceremony took a lot of work with Desiree Matchett saying "it was two months of journey for 20 minutes of production".

She took a semester off to take on the role and said it was a fantastic opportunity to be a part of.

"This has been the biggest and best thing I've been involved with and these are the people that you might be working with in the future.

Next in the AUT Winemakers' Series — Mahi

AUT Winemakers Series.

July 2011

The AUT Winemakers' Series continues on August 26 with Marlborough Mahi's vineyard.

Hosted at AUT's Four Seasons restaurant, Mahi winemaker, Brian Bicknell, will take diners through an interactive culinary journey featuring five premium wines from the vineyard matched with a sumptuous five course degustation menu prepared by some of New Zealand’s best chefs teaching at AUT.

The evening is an informal one allowing you the chance to talk with the winemakers and sommelier before or after the meal.

The AUT Winemakers' Series 2011

Cost: $95 per person
Time: 6pm arrival for a glass of bubbles, dinner commences at 6.30pm
Venue: AUT University Four Seasons Restaurant, 55 Wellesley St East, Auckland City.
Bookings: Places are limited to 60 people so please book now. Contact Four Seasons on (09) 921 9932, or email Four Seasons to book your place

>> View the latest Winemaker's Series brochure pdf icon (1 page/82KB)

Date Wine region Vineyard Winemaker
6 May Waiheke Stonyridge Ethan McDonald and Chris Ward (Viticulturist)
24 June Hawke's Bay Esk Valley Gordon Russell - NZ Winemaker of the year 2007
26 August Marlborough Mahi Brian Bicknell
28 October Martinborough Murdoch James Carl Fraser

Piko enters Monteith's Beer and Wild Food Challenge

24 May 2011

Ever tried a wild goat pie? Well now is your chance. Piko has entered the 14th annual Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge and the restaurant is inviting people to come down and try the pie.

Head Chef Culinary Arts Matt Farley said his inspiration came from wanting to "showcase a wild, hunted and uncommonly used meat that is challenging to the palate and customers perceptions".

The dish, named Celtic Rack and Pinion, will be served with a Monteith's Celtic Red Beer during the course of the competition from June 3 until July 3. 

The competition, which challenges restaurants, bars and cafes to compete against one another to create New Zealand's ultimate wild food dish matched perfectly to a Monteith’s beer.

"I wanted to showcase a wild, hunted and uncommonly used meat that is challenging to the palate and customers perceptions," says Matt.

As Piko is a training restaurant, the second part of my inspiration involves expanding student horizons. This dish brings together valuable and unique experience in preparing different meats, cooking styles and balancing texture and flavour with beer.

The public will be playing a part in the competition too, patrons that try the dish can vote to help see Piko become one of the top two 'People's Choice' finalists or one of five 'Expert Judging' finalists that will compete in the hotly contested live Cook Of final in Auckland on August 1.

For more information, visit the competition website.

Culinary Lecturer Exchange offers a taste of something new

Pumpkin sculpture.

5 May 2011

For 30 days in November and December last year, AUT University culinary lecturer John Kelleher swapped places with Phonganan Sirisaengphaiwan of Suan Dusit University (SUD), Bangkok.

The Culinary Lecturer Exchange is designed to foster educational relations between AUT and SUD culinary departments by promoting educational developments and mutual understanding.

John says he enjoyed the experience immensely.

"I taught western cuisine on Monday, Tuesday and Friday from their curriculum, which was translated into Thai," he says.

"At the end of the 30 day exchange, my family joined me and we holidayed for six weeks."

John says he was fortunate enough to contribute to Suan Dusit community projects.

"I got to help out by serving lunch to handicapped students as well as stay in a Buddhist temple in Ratchaburi province to cater for High School students that were on a religious retreat.

Some of his other highlights include:

  • Attending World ASEAN Skills competition
  • Viewing the King's Birthday celebrations
  • Judging for the Thailand Culinary Academy that selected competitors to compete at international culinary competitions in 2011
  • Attending the Loy Karatong festival and the Ayutthaya Cultural Festival
  • Dinner at Nahm (chef patron David Thompson)

While at AUT, Chef Phonganan Sirisaengphaiwan entertained onlookers at AUT with his vegetable carving demonstration (pictured).

AUT helps DineAid this Christmas


10 December 2010

AUT culinary arts students rolled up their sleeves and helped out in the DineAidkitchen and with other restaurants at Taste of Auckland earlier this year.

The students teamed up with well known chefs including Jeremy Schmid, AUT graduate and owner of Two Fifteen Bistro, to prepare and cook the food during the three-day event. AUT also provided all of the equipment for the DineAid kitchen.

DineAid is a charitable initiative undertaken by the New Zealand restaurant community to give a helping hand to New Zealanders in need. Each year during November and December, DineAid raises money through participating restaurants across New Zealand by adding a voluntary donation of just $2 per table to restaurant bills and paid by the bill payer.

AUT staff and students offered their time and skills at no cost to Taste and DineAid. Students working in the sponsors tents at the event all received offers of work from this association.

NZ the 'Rolex' of long haul destinations

2 December 2010

Norm Thompson.

"We are the rolex of long haul travel out of Japan and New Zealand is seen as a quality destination, we should always keep that in mind."

Air New Zealand deputy CEO, Norm Thompson (pictured), the final keynote speaker in the NZ Tourism and Hospitality Research Conference hosted by AUT, says even in economic troughs organisations need to continue to research, continue to innovate and continue to invest, particularly in people, in preparation for the good times.

"Tourism is New Zealand's number 1 export, it’s worth $9.5 billion a year and represents just under 10 per cent of the country's GDP," he reminded the audience.

As the final keynote speaker of the three-day conference organised by AUT's NZ Tourism Research Institute and the School of Hospitality and Tourism, Thompson spoke of New Zealand’s unique position in the world in terms of travel, the importance of ensuring that visitors leave New Zealand as ambassadors for the country and the future of Air New Zealand.

The conference in late November gave established and up and coming researchers alike the chance to present their research.

With over 110 delegates from 17 countries, and 97 papers refereed, presented and published in a 527 page conference proceedings document, it’s fair to say the 9th annual conference has been a great success says conference chair Professor Mark Orams.

"This year themes for papers included accommodation, Asia and tourism, marine and island tourism, experiences in hospitality, food and beverage and nature based and special interest tourism plus others. Papers were evenly spread between the themes so there was something for everyone," Prof Orams says.

Individual papers presented ranged from topics such as Taiwanese 'love boutique motels', the impact of swim-with-dolphins tourism on Hector's dolphins in Banks Peninsula through to the tourist host experience at the White Lady and who has the most sunshine?-the battle for the most attractive destination.

The organising committee for the conference felt that one of the most important contributions the conference could make was to provide an opportunity and a forum for post-graduate research students and early career researchers to receive constructive feedback on their research and to offer a supportive environment at which to present their research (including their ideas, planning and initial results).

"We also made a decision to promote a better link between research, academia and the tourism and hospitality industries. As a consequence, we adopted the theme for the conference of "adding value through research," he says.

Keynote speakers for the three-day conference included: Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand; Alison Morrison, Professor of Hospitality at the University of Surrey, UK; Norm Thompson, Deputy Chief Executive of Air New Zealand and Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand.

You can access all the papers and listen to the keynote addresses on theNZ Tourism Research Institute website.

Access tourism more important than ever

October 2010

Minnie Baragwanath.

The inaugural Access Tourism New Zealand Conference at AUT University Auckland on 4 October 2010 highlighted the need to welcome foreign visitors with disabilities.

The Honourable Tariana Turia, Minister for Disabilities Issues and co-leader of the Maori Party opened the conference by describing what Access Tourism is, and how this was the fastest growing sector overseas.

"Indeed, it is a high growth industry, expanding and exploring the potential of a vast market of tourism products," she said.

"Access tourism embraces tourism, travel and hospitality. It is also a lucrative market, which can do much to boost our future economic growth and yet access tourism has been a neglected sector in New Zealand – to our distinct disadvantage.

Mrs Turia said she pledged her personal support for improving the performance of government agencies in removing participation and access barriers experienced by disabled people.

Conference organiser and NZTRI researcher, Dr Sandra Rhodda, says 17% of the NZ population have a disability and this number is bound to go up as NZ has an ageing population and disability increases with age.

"People with disabilities are in fact the largest minority group in the world. And their collective voice is getting louder, more cohesive and stronger," Dr Rhodda says.

In Australia the Access Tourism market is worth around $4.8 billion to the Australian economy and Dr Rhodda says New Zealand is losing out on this very lucrative market by not ensuring our cities and attractions are fully accessible. "It's an important economic and tourism sustainability issue, not just a disabilities issue."

The conference included presentations on Rugby World Cup access issues, the world access tourism situation, hearing and sight disabled tourists, wheelchair users, transport and the law.

A hot topic of discussion at the conference was access initiatives for Rugby World Cup 2011 visitors and the opportunity such a large event offers in showcasing the accessibility New Zealand. Minnie Baragwanath (pictured) from Auckland City Council shared her passion for an accessible Auckland, with a presentation she called "Extreme Makeover", which she says is a good description of what needs to happen in New Zealand.

Mrs Baragwanath has been at the forefront of an initative to create an "accessible business toolkit" as part of the business readiness programme for Rugby World Cup.

The conference, organised by the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute, attracted an audience of about 100 people from various areas of the tourism and accessibility sectors.

Conference resources

An array of resources from the conference can be found on the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute website, including:

Last updated: 14-Feb-2014 10.17pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.