Why Tourists From China Like New Zealand
It is not only the purity of the New Zealand countryside and the environment here that attracts Chinese tourists in growing numbers. New Zealand is an English settlement and dominion. The quaint, museum like appearance of, say, North Island towns in NZ, in largely rural areas, contrasts sharply with modern, highly developed cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. These huge Chinese cities are often highly developed in terms of infrastructure like sky scrapers, airports, highways and underground rail services and other mass forms of public transportation that have proven necessary to make these gigantic Asian cities work. So New Zealand, then, is a place for tourists to relax in, to chill out, take a real break from work and from pressured, overcrowded urban environments.
"…to our visitors. And our visitor mix is changing. Behind only Australia, China is now New Zealand’s second largest source of international visitor arrivals. And it grew by a notable 14% in the 12 months…"
Take a town like Te Aroha, where the Bay of Plenty meets the Waikato dairy farming region. The striking feature of this town is the government supported Te Aroha Domain, home of the Te Aroha Hot Spa and Springs. The domain is beautifully nestled under Bald Spur and Mount Te Aroha, named The Mountain Of Love by the late Maori Chief Mokena. Many old Victorian and Edwardian buildings have been restored and well maintained in the domain. There are mineral baths for couples from $12 each for thirty minutes (Tuesdays) and some believe that the slippery mineral waters have almost magical healing powers.
Chinese tourists love these mineral waters, just as they love Rotorua bath houses on the shores of Lake Rotorua. The preference for natural healing is in harmony with Chinese beliefs such as Feng Shui, Taoism, Tai Chi and herbal, natural medicinal remedies. Harmony with Nature is central to Chinese and Japanese variants of Buddhism. The presence of an exceptionally well maintained museum in the Te Aroha Domain would also fascinate the Chinese visitors. The contrast with Chinese life would be apparent. So these tourists love uniquely Kiwi and New Zealand attributes. They respect individuality after a cultural experience that tends to mold them into uniformity…
A Maori meeting house is located on a Maori Marae. That's a tribal place, where meetings are held, sports are encouraged and where social harmony is experienced. Chinese tourists are encouraged to ask tour operators to include at least one such experience during their visit to New Zealand. The experience is highly worthwhile, if you can arrange it in a planned and authorised way.
This building is the public information centre at the entrance to The Domain on Whitaker Street. It is well supplied with maps, souvenirs, audio visual displays and even a coffee vending machine. The staff are extremely helpful. Chinese tourists and visitors are advised to visit this i Centre first to obtain information about bush walks, Mount Te Aroha, BMX cycling tracks, weather conditions and any equipment, such as food, water bottles, first aid, etc., that may be needed. Walking tracks start off from behind this building, where you rise up grassy slopes towards the Bath House, soda geyser, the museum and other Victorian buildings of the Te Aroha Domain.
Te Aroha literally means "the love" of the tribal community. The Maori people have songs and dance to commemorate and reinforce this strong value of affection and love in the marae experience of the tribal community where the group is placed firmly above the individual, for the good of all. I trust that all tourists from China, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries, will appreciate these cultural aspects of New Zealand and have a wonderful traveling holiday in the North Island – particularly to the town of Te Aroha in the Matamata-Piako District of The Waikato.
New Zealand Tourism Editor, Geoff Dodd