By Oscar Nathan, GM Destination Rotorua – ex. Poutama Business Advisor and CEO of Tamaki Tours

New Zealand tourism shines that less brighter with the unexpected passing earlier this month of one of the industry’s true tourism pioneers’ Doug Tamaki of Tamaki Maori Village (Tamaki Tours).

A life best described as ‘lived to the full’ with passion and energy to burn; for those fortunate enough to have known Doug they would tell you he was his own man, youngest of brothers Tamaki, the one with the infectious smile, the booming laugh, bear like hug and innate ability to always see the upside in any situation.

Having had the privilege and opportunity to work alongside Doug and his brother Mike for a number of years, as a colleague and later as their employee at a time when the company had varied interests in Rotorua, Christchurch and Glenorchy (just outside Queenstown) – the legacy Doug created with his brother Mike in terms of true indigenous entrepreneurial success remains not only aspiring for Maori here in Aotearoa, but for many indigenous cultures around the world.

Over a quarter of a century on and the passion Doug and Mike have for the business continues to this day, having expanded the experience into award winning accommodation, their vision has moved to the next generation, resulting in hundreds being employed and millions having shared in the magic that is Tamaki Maori Village and our Maori culture and hospitality.

Today Tamaki Tours remains the most awarded cultural experience in the history of the NZ Tourism Award’s whilst also recently being awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Golden Backpack Awards in Australia.  This success is a tribute to two families and in particular two brothers Mike and Doug – the latter whom will always be warmly remembered by his many staff (current and past), the wider industry (here in NZ and abroad), as well as his many colleagues and friends.  Doug was 56 years old and is survived by his wife Katie, their four children and grandson.  Moe mai ra e te rangatira.