Tourism & Regional Affairs Executive, Air New Zealand
Bachelor of International Tourism Management in Hospitality
Deciding to study tourism was easy, says Kuini Apineru who completed a Bachelor of International Tourism Management at AUT.
“I love people, diversity, making a difference, making valuable connections, building great relationships and learning about new cultures. That’s what tourism is and what attracted me to study it.”
She encourages others to do the same and make the most of the opportunities the tourism industry offers.
“Give it a try and make a difference! The tourism industry is about so much more than just travel and when you get your foot in the door, you won’t regret it. There are so many opportunities and so many different roles, and the people are very supportive and willing to help you grow.”
Becoming an Air New Zealander
Now working at Air New Zealand, Kuini enjoys the variety her role offers.
“Air New Zealand is the connector of tourism domestically and internationally, and this role is a great opportunity to challenge myself in a corporate environment. I’m responsible for managing our sponsorships with tourism partners for tourism and trade events, developing content to market New Zealand internationally, and supporting campaigns to stimulate visits around New Zealand.”
The people are what she loves most about her work, Kuini says.
“My role allows me to work with a diverse group of people across the Air New Zealand family, and support networks across the business. This includes The Manu Network, which is a network established to develop the next Māori and Pacific leaders at Air New Zealand, and Te Ara Nui, Air New Zealand’s kapa haka group put together to ensure our Māori culture and language is at the forefront of everything we do at Air New Zealand.”
Creating great graduates
Completing a tourism degree at AUT prepared her well for her career now, says Kuini who graduated in 2013 and received the award for the top Pacific student.
“The highlights for me were making lifelong friends, and the opportunity to connect with industry through my workplace experience and my lecturers. That was a key reason why I chose to study at AUT – I knew it provides a great platform for tourism studies and great practical papers linking theory to industry experiences.
“I also liked the flexibility of the classes and assignments, all the different events and activations in summer, and the funny moments in the foodcourt with my friends.”
She was impressed by AUT’s modern approach to university education.
“AUT celebrates diversity, innovation and fresh thinking, good engagement with industry, and an openness to adapt and change things to improve students’ journey from study to the workforce.”