Te Ūnga Mai

Professional Development Programme

Building Capacity and Capability in Destination Management


Regional Tourism New Zealand’s inaugural Te Ūnga Mai Professional Development Programme was designed in partnership with Miles Partnership to guide and support Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO) teams across Aotearoa | New Zealand in developing and implementing a future-focused and action orientated Destination Management approach, and provide a clear education pathway to support RTO teams transition from Destination Promotion to Destination Management.

The RTNZ professional development programme was gifted the name Te Ūnga Mai by industry partner, New Zealand Māori Tourism. It is a phrase te iwi Māori would use when waka would arrive at their destination; Te Ūnga Mai o ngā waka. In the context of our mahi, it can also be applied to three core pillars at the heart of our Te Ūnga Mai learning journey:

  • Te Ūnga Mai o te Mātauranga (knowledge)
  • Te Ūnga Mai o te tangata (many people)
  • Te Ūnga Mai o te whakaaro (different points of view)

The programme, which is still being implemented across Aotearoa | New Zealand, has been curated to meet RTOs wherever they are on their Destination Management journey, offering opportunities for tourism professionals from the RTO world to meet the following learning outcomes:

Key Learning Outcomes for Participating RTOs:

  • Knowledge and confidence to facilitate / lead Destination Management in their region.
  • The ability to benchmark their Destination Management journey and identify specific progress and priority areas for your region.
  • Understanding of the key Destination Management principles and characteristics to advocate and engage with stakeholders in their region.
  • Tools to enable implementation of their Destination Management Plan and ongoing development with an online learning library curated with content, research, insights and resources.
  • Ongoing engagement and support via facilitated online networking and learning.
  • Sharing of best-practice and coming together to help shape our industry and its future success


The ten month programme included two three-day residential ‘wānanga’ developed in close partnership with the host regions. A vast range of speakers, both global and national were curated to meet specific learning outcomes based on the sixteen destination management characteristics, developed by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

The programme included Aotearoa | New Zealand’s first Destination Management Self-Assessment process, which guided the development of programme content. A dynamic data dashboard of results was delivered to each participating organisation custom built in Google’s Data Studio. We also supported RTNZ to create “Tūhono”, an online platform dedicated to RTOs and their team members serving as an ongoing communications tool to engage, connect and share important industry information with its members.


A comprehensive self-assessment tool that leaders and teams can use to benchmark their Destination Management journey and identify progress and priority areas.


A network of ongoing support and communication between regions.


Ongoing learning and development with useful content, research, insights and tools.

RTNZ achieved 100% participation from all 31 RTOs of Aotearoa | New Zealand, with two to five representatives from each team plus representatives from Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Māori Tourism, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Department of Conservation.


Average rating for:

“I have gained valuable knowledge from this Wānanga”


Average rating for:

“My confidence in Destination Management has increased”

With the exception of setbacks due to the COVID19 pandemic; the programme has run on time, to schedule and within its allocated budget allowance.

Te Ūnga Mai has attracted attention from countries looking to similarly upskill, and plans are being reviewed to further the programme in 2023.


In 2022, Regional Tourism New Zealand (RTNZ) committed to building a professional development programme for employees of the 31 Regional Tourism Organisations in Aotearoa | New Zealand that would support their capability and capacity to deliver all aspects of a Destination Management Plan.

Miles Partnership was contracted by RTNZ to be the key delivery partner for this programme. Miles Partnership have successfully built a programme that included: initial benchmarking, creation of an online networking platform and information sharing library, online learning modules, and two week-long wānanga (residential learning programmes). The detailed thinking, planning and delivery of the programme drew on Miles Partnership’s international network and experience and their highly capable team considered the challenges and opportunities of being an RTO team member. Miles Partnership’s ability to draw on different skillsets and experiences and to work with other agencies and their people was admirable and a credit to the programme.

 As a result of their experience and dedication, Miles Partnership, together with RTNZ, delivered a highly bespoke programme to over 100 participants. This programme was exceptionally well received and has recently been announced as a finalist for a New Zealand Tourism Award.

Tourism Industry Awards

Following the publishing of this case study, the Te Ūnga Mai programme went on to win the Tourism New Zealand | Industry Collaboration Award at the annual Tourism Industry Awards (TIA).

Kristin Dunne

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