Wish we'd thought of that: Terrific tourism and entertainment endeavours

Tourism is now New Zealand's largest industry. Are you doing something utterly awesome that you think deserves to be recognised at the 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards? Then enter it in the Innovation in Tourism and Entertainment category, sponsored by none other than us here at Idealog.

The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are open for entries. If you've got an amazing product, service, process or venture – or you know someone who needs to be shoulder-tapped – now’s the time to get it out there. And to help encourage entries and showcase the categories, we’re showcasing the best innovations we come across. We focus next on Innovation in Tourism and Entertainment, sponsored by us at Idealog.


Haka Tours

Fact: tourism is now New Zealand’s most lucrative industry.

Fact: competition among companies for tourist money is fierce.

Another fact: Auckland-based Haka Tours is one of the most innovative players in the market.

Winner of the Innovation in Marketing & Communications at last year’s Innovation Awards, Haka Tours are one of Aotearoa’s best-known tourism companies. Boasting clients from all over the world who come to the Land of the Long White Cloud for all kinds of unique experiences, what’s more impressive is that they’ve carved a niche amidst an incredibly crowded tourism market.

Offering adventure, snow, and mountain biking tours – among a plethora of other options – the company sounds a lot like other tour operators, at least on the surface. But what sets it apart is its unique “buildable” tours where, somewhat similar to Lego kits in the 1990s that would carry detailed step-by-step instructions for the main model and then inspiration for alternative models a person could build with the same kit, clients can create their own entirely unique, once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience.1990s that would carry detailed step-by-step instructions for the main model and then inspiration for alternative models a person could build with the same kit, clients can create their own entirely unique, once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience.

Pop Up Globe

Beyond the smell of faeces on the streets, the presence of myriad air-borne diseases and a cruel and unusual legal system, stepping a few hundred years into the past for just a couple of hours would be a pretty sensational experience.

Well, a to-scale replica of the second Globe Theatre erected in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is about as close as it gets for the playwright’s fans, and it’s popped up right in Auckland city (and, as an added bonus, it also comes without all the nasties mentioned previously). The masterminds behind the Pop-up Globe have themselves labelled the experience as something akin to time travel, and tickets have sold like proverbial hotcakes.

We doubt the Bard would be sorely vexed by such consumption of vestibular endeavours.

Sharks in the Park

Developed by Geo AR, sharks in the park is an augmented reality app that encourages young people to be active. How does it do that? By tapping into Google Maps on a smart device and creating a playing field where kids can run around to catch fish while avoiding sharks.

Geo AR also came out of Lightning Lab XX – an innovation hub supporting female-led companies.

Rotorua Canopy Tours
Rotorua may be most famous for its lake and hot springs, but another thing it has is a lot of trees. Rotorua Canopy Tours is capitalising on that with a unique eco-tourism experience. During a three-hour canopy tour, clients are guided on a 1.2-kilometre network of six ziplines, swingbridges and treetop platforms up to 22 metres high in the canopy of ancient native forest. It’s the closest thing to experiencing what life for Tarzan must be like.


Picture this: you’re in a motorhome, on the road. It’s the adventure of a lifetime, the fresh air filling your lungs and making your soul sing as the kilometres disappear under your tyres.

There’s just one problem: you’re going to need a place to park your motorhome at night – and no-one seems willing to let you do that. But fret no more – at least as the denizens behind Auckland-based tech startup Campable tell it.

Campable is an app that allows motorhome travellers to stay with local landowners and businesses on their own land. The whole thing is pretty simple: motorhome travellers (known as “guests”) use the Campable app to browse through sites, make bookings, and complete payments, while those who list their property on Campable (“hosts”) can use the Campable website to list their property and organise bookings. In other words, think Airbnb, but for motorhomes.

As co-founder and technical director Brody Nelson says: “Our aim is to connect people with the outdoors, locals and authentic experiences. Some people have never spent time in New Zealand’s outdoors, away from cities, so when they do – that’s when they realise what it’s all about. I think a great way to create life-long engagement with the environment is to introduce people to these unique sites and experiences. If Campable can do that for people, then I think we’ll have succeeded.”

Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories for the 2017 Innovation  Awards, and tell your story by clicking here

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).