Survey shows Kiwis are excited by heritage

A recent survey commissioned by DOC and Tohu Whenua shows Kiwis want more opportunities to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand’s heritage.

Date: 19 December 2023
Source: Department of Conservation and Tohu Whenua
Image: Te Kopikopiko o te Waka - Clint Trahan

The views of more than 1400 Tohu Whenua heritage site visitors were recorded in the survey.

“Tohu Whenua loosely translates to ‘landmarks’ in te reo Māori,” says Tohu Whenua Governance Group Chair Andrew Coleman. “The programme was launched in 2016 to help Kiwis and internationals connect with Aotearoa New Zealand’s must-see heritage experiences.

“Since then, we’ve launched 26 Tohu Whenua heritage sites around the country. These special places give people a chance to discover Kiwi heritage and history through experiences like cycling alongside historic railway lines or exploring Kororipo Pā - the seasonal home of famed Chief Hongi Hika.”

88% of surveyed visitors to Tohu Whenua sites reported a high level of satisfaction with their visitor experience. When asked about how it could be improved, they suggested things like sound tours, increased audio experiences, and more information about Māori history.

When asked for one thing they would remember most about their experience they provided feedback such as “how incredible it must have been for the first waka to land here” (Cape Brett / Rākaumangamanga) and “learning more about people and where they went and their connection to places…” (Totara Estate).

“We’d encourage people to visit Tohu Whenua’s website and social channels this summer for a free guide to inspire them to seek out hundreds of other equally fascinating heritage places around the country that tell our stories,” said Andrew Coleman.

DOC’s Director of Heritage and Visitors Cat Wilson says the survey shows how enthusiastic New Zealanders are about heritage and Tohu Whenua and underlines the importance of building on ways for both national and international visitors to interact with our places of historic significance.

“There is clearly an appetite for stories of New Zealand’s past combined with culture and heritage in beautiful natural settings. It’s wonderful to see how much this means to individuals and families who want to see it nurtured for future generations.”

For the full survey results visit: Marketing & Brand Elements | Tohu Whenua (external site)

Background information

Tohu Whenua is a partnership between Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage, Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Te Puni Kokiri.

Tohu Whenua (external site)/


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