TCI Newsletter

Tourism Chatham Islands Newsletter

Kia ora,  Welcome

Kia ora and welcome to our very first newsletter for Tourism Chatham Islands.

The formation of this new entity is a milestone in the management and development of this industry. It has the potential to become a much more significant driver of the Chatham Islands economy and a much greater positive contributor to the communities of the Chathams.

In this newsletter we have a message from the Chair, Duane Emeny, and we provide an overview of our main activities and news. At Tourism Chatham Islands we are also providing the opportunity for visitors to contribute back to the Islands. We highlight three very good causes that can be supported. In the future we will be showcasing attractions on the Islands, featuring businesses and business development and providing tourism updates.

Chat from the Chair – Duane Emeny

Kia Ora Everybody and thanks for subscribing to our tourism newsletter!
It has been a very busy year for tourism on the Chatham Islands. And I’d personally like to thank our governance group for volunteering their time to drive home the goals put forward in our strategic roadmap for tourism development and management on the Chathams.

Special mention must go to our ‘dogged’ interim Tourism Manager and author of the Strategic Plan which has been the catalyst for hugely positive change in tourism development on our Islands. Jackie Gurden has made it her mission to leave no stone unturned in her efforts to dramatically improve communication amongst operators and to hunt out feedback from visitors to the Islands to enable continuous improvement.

Furthermore under her guidance the total funding for tourism related initiatives over the past 12 months is closing in on $500,000. An astonishing effort! 

Having spent my childhood on the Chathams I personally understand the challenges faced by our young people. Outside of fishing and farming there are limited career choices. I believe that with tourism growth and the potential for further growth into the future this will provide another exciting pathway for our youth now and in years to come.

The key for us as an organisation will be ensuring that the growth does not come at the expense of the island way of life. And there-in lies our challenge as Tourism Chatham Islands!

So enjoy this inaugural newsletter. It goes into all the exciting projects in much greater detail and shows the excellent work ongoing in our community.

Ka kite, Duane Emeny

Covid-19 Update

Like much of the world, tourism on the Islands is temporarily closed. Being a small remote place with limited health services and many family members in older age groups it is critically important that this virus does not get onto our Islands. We are expecting many visitors, who enjoy a trip overseas, may now look to the Chatham Islands and we will see growth in visitor numbers. Management of this will be very important. We look forward to this reopening when it is deemed safe and our community is ready to welcome visitors back.

About Tourism Chatham Islands

Our new entity has a governance structure with representatives of Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust (Iwi), Hokotehi Moriori Trust (Imi), the Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust, Chatham Islands Council, DOC, Air Chathams and our large and small operators. We already have 33 financial members. This is virtually all our current operators on the Islands and mainland and has set us up with a united voice for the Islands.

Below is a snapshot of what we have been up to in our first six months.

Tourism Manager – The establishment of an interim tourism manager to help us setup, secure funding and get our highest priority projects underway. We have achieved this and have initial funding of $70,000 and over $50,000 in in-kind contributions from operators, which is a pretty significant starting point for this small Island.

An application has been lodged with the Provincial Growth Fund to fund a dedicated tourism manager role.

Toilets – We assisted the Chatham Islands Council with a successful application to the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund for six new toilets for attractions at strategic locations around the Island. These are much needed and we look forward to them being installed.

Marketing – A plan is being developed. Our new brochure will be available soon after lockdown.

A new website is being created and an image library is currently underway.

We are also working on our branding and a logo.  

Chatham Islands, New Zealand is now our main Facebook page. Please Like it and Share our posts.

Market Research – Thank you to everyone who has filled out our visitor survey. This has been set up as a  professional ongoing visitor market research tool. It enables us to understand our visitors and their experience on the Islands and where we can improve. We now have two seasons worth of data and will publish the results in one of our next newsletters.

Welcome/Farewell Sign – We are thrilled to have received the offer from artist Lisa Grennell to create a sign to go out by the airport entrance to the carpark. This will no doubt become a photostop for visitors on arrival and departure.

Airport Enhancements – We have developed a plan that is now being worked through with the Chatham Islands Airport Company.

Fish-Take – One of the issues for locals is the amount of fish taken off the Island by visitors. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has established a Fishing Forum and our members have contributed to this. New regulations are likely to emerge from the consultation occurring as part of this process.

Voluntary Visitor Industry Levy – A voluntary levy of $25 per visitor is being established with the companies that bring visitors to the Islands from next season. It already has the support of the main companies. One operator has made a contribution for this last season.

Stone Cottage Restoration
Our Tourism Manager has undertaken a lead role in securing the funding for the restoration of the Heritage New Zealand Category 1 listed Stone Cottage. The first work of killing the moss has been completed. Once the lockdown is lifted the restoration work will continue.

Photos and Videos Wanted

We are building an image library of quality photos and videos of the Chatham Islands.  If you have visited the Islands and taken some great shots that you are prepared to share with us, please contact our Tourism Manager as soon as possible.

Here are a few that have been shared with us. We would like lots more.

Giving back to the Islands

Our survey work indicates many visitors are willing to give something back to the Islands and provide some much needed help to community and environmental projects. Being such a small place with limited funding this support it vital. Tourism Chatham Islands has nominated three causes that we would welcome visitors giving contributions directly to. These are:

Option 1: A Tourism Project
Tourism Chatham Islands – Our organisation is independent and has to raise funds to continue our work. Contributing to Tourism Chatham Islands helps continue the visitor management and tourism infrastructure work we are undertaking, as outlined above.

Bank account: 06-0845-0796434-02
Particulars: Your Name  Reference: Donation

Option 2: A Community Project
The Chatham Islands Museum – A new museum is being planned and will be housed within a broader Chatham Islands Council complex. Plans for the building have been developed. Initial concept plans for the exhibition themes and displays have been prepared and community consultation is underway. Funding applications have been lodged with Lotteries Environment and Heritage and the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund for the building. Further funding is also needed for the fitout. This is an important initiative and will provide a much-needed community asset and an outstanding new all-weather visitor attraction. Donations can be made directly to the Chatham Islands Museum Trust.

Bank account: 01 1192 0020122 00
Particulars: Your Name Reference: Donation
For more information on this project and larger donations and sponsorship please email Co-Chair Jocelyn Powell

Option 3: An Environmental ProjectThe Taiko Trust – Officially formed in 1998 the Taiko Trust comprises mainly Chatham Island locals coming together to protect the world’s most endangered seabird species. The Trust’s four main projects are:
1. Sweetwater  – The development of an 800m protected area of 2.4h of forest securing the breeding site of the Chatham Islands Taiko. 
2. Albatross Translocation – With the only breeding place on Te Tara Kaia Koia/The Pyramid, the Trust is attempting to establish a colony on mainland Chathams and avoid the risks of storm events stripping the breeding habitats. The chicks are relocated in “flowerpot nests” in the protected site at Gap Sanctuary on the main island. They are cared for and are fed squid and fish daily.
3. Taiko Conservation – Protecting breeding habitat, predator control, and transfer of chicks into Sweetwater. It will develop a protected population within the security of the predator proof fence.
4. Coastal Restoration – Following the erection of a 1.3km predator proof fence by The Tuanui Family Trust, the Taiko Trust is now working to restore the coastline as a thriving seabird driven ecosystem. It will see vast numbers of seabirds breeding on the Main Island again. Using endemic Chatham Islands Akeake together with less wind hardy species, this project involves the planting of around 20,000 trees per year.

You can support this work with a donation directly to the Taiko Trust. 
Bank Account 01-1192-0015702-00
Particulars: Last Name Reference: Donation
For more information email:

Newsletter Draw Winner

Congratulations to Beth, the winner of our recent newsletter signup draw.

As part of our promotions to expand our network of online friends we have been running a prize draw for boxes of quality blue cod donated by the Chatham Island Food Co.

Chatham Island Guide Book

If you’re planning a visit to the Chatham Islands we highly recommend this comprehensive guide. Copies are available for purchase at $45 plus $5 pp through the Chatham Islands Museum with proceeds going to the museum. For a copy please email

Wherever you are take care and stay safe. 
Kia Kaha