Dr Geoff Dickson came to AUT from Central Queensland University, Australia, to further his research career.
12 years later, Geoff has progressed through AUT and loves it here.
“I’ve seen nothing but opportunities since I have been here,” says Geoff, “AUT has been a great place to work.”
Geoff is now an Associate Professor within the School of Sport and Recreation as well as the Associate Director of the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI). In the capacity of this role (which he has held since 2006), Geoff has led an event management or events research programme.
He took data the NZTRI collected from the International Visitor Survey and found that the Cook Island tourist numbers are substantial, but not many people go to the Cook Islands for events.
“And that isn’t a criticism – when you have the natural resources of the Cook Islands, who needs an event to go to? But nonetheless, I couldn’t help but think that maybe their events economy was a little under-developed.”
Geoff sees an opportunity to create an events portfolio for the Cook Islands by collaborating and co-ordinating with different organisations from the government and non-profit sectors to produce a portfolio of events for the country.
He believes that his research, funded by SRIFs, highlights a few issues for the Cook Islands.
“One of the issues that came up while conducting the research, was this tension between the Government and the private sector.
“Events are sitting right between the heritage and environment groups on the one hand, who say events are not what the Cook Islands are about, and governmental tourism groups, who are very pro-events, in terms of the social and economic benefits.
“Those two stakeholders need to get on the same page if the Cook Islands are really going to advance with their events in the next decade.”