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Local celebrities celebrate best of the Bay

Press Release – Bay Of Plenty Tourism

Wednesday, January 25, 2017: From the best coffee spot to grab a flat white by the beach, to must-do bush hikes through the Kaimais, local celebrities are voicing what they love about the Bay of Plenty and they want residents to join them.

Local celebrities celebrate best of the Bay in No Place Like Home community campaign

Wednesday, January 25, 2017: From the best coffee spot to grab a flat white by the beach, to ‘must-do’ bush hikes through the Kaimais, local celebrities are voicing what they love about the Bay of Plenty – and they want residents to join them.

Olympians Gemma McCaw (nee Flynn) and Luuka Jones, musicians Ria Hall and Tiki Taane, and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson are the famous local faces of Tourism Bay of Plenty’s No Place Like Home campaign.

This community-focussed initiative encourages residents to share what they love about living in the Bay of Plenty – from their favourite places to cherished hot spots which enrich the region – in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the Bay’s unique offerings for the benefit of fellow locals and visitors alike.

The campaign gets its name from Tiki and Ria’s 2016 hit single, which pays tribute to the region through song and includes input from the Tahatai Coast School choir.

Launching today, Tourism Bay of Plenty Head of Marketing Kath Low says the name encapsulates everything the campaign stands for: fostering pride in our place and our people, and giving locals the tools to be able to share this passion with visitors to the region.

“No Place Like Home is about giving our residents a sense of appreciation for what a fabulous part of New Zealand this is. We want our people to be aware of all the fantastic opportunities and activities available here and feel proud to say, ‘I’m from the Bay.’”

By knowing what makes this place great and what’s available to see and do, Kath says Bay residents can then act as confident ambassadors to guests who come to enjoy the region.

“Friends and family will often look to their hosts for advice on where to go and what to do, tapping into that all-important ‘local knowledge’.

“We want to ensure our residents are well-equipped with a comprehensive awareness of their own backyard, in order to be outstanding ambassadors for our region and give our visitors an unforgettable experience in this place that we’re proud to call home.”

This approach has been shown to result in positive experiences for visitors, who in turn stay longer, spend more and spread the word.

The campaign begins with a community survey, to gain valuable insight from residents about what they love about living in the Bay, the attractions or places they like to visit, and where they take family and friends.

“The community voice is an absolutely integral part of the No Place Like Home campaign,” says Kath.

“Your feedback will provide the foundation for our campaign. From here, we can work together to grow the region further, by developing facilities, events, experiences and a cultural vibe that’s uniquely Bay of Plenty.”

Singer Ria Hall (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pukenga) was born and bred in Maungatapu and after some time spent in Wellington is now back living in the Bay of Plenty. She describes her home as a place of healing, where she can “just breathe”.

“If I am driving or flying in, as soon as I see Mauao, I’m like, ‘Yes! I’m home’. It’s like a big sense of relief. And to be by my sea is very healing – it’s always a good feeling to be here by my moana and my maunga.”

Like Ria, hockey star Gemma McCaw (nee Flynn) says the Bay of Plenty is a place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life. Currently based in Christchurch, she says the best part about coming back is the sense of community that comes with the region.

“I love the relaxed atmosphere, that real community feel and spirit. When I’m away, I miss that – everyone has a really positive outlook on life and there is a really relaxed vibe.”

Athlete Luuka Jones also spends much of her time travelling around the world for canoe slalom – in which she recently won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics – and misses the beauty of the Bay whenever she’s overseas.

“It’s so beautiful and everything is accessible here. Whenever I show people pictures of the Bay, they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s incredible!’ It’s such a fantastic place for someone like me who loves the outdoors because there is so much variety – you can pack a lot into a day.”

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson also spends much of his time overseas, but with his family and friends still based in the Bay, he savours the opportunity to come back to the beach.

“I love the friendly people and the beach culture,” says Kane. “The climate just promotes being active and outdoors, and with plenty of walks and sports on offer we are spoilt for choice.”

Papamoa-based musician Tiki Taane has been a Bay of Plenty resident for eight years, relocating from his hometown of Christchurch, and says it was love at first sight.

“I always saw the Bay of Plenty as this pristine paradise that I’d love to go to, and finally I did in 1996 with my band Salmonella Dub, when we played a gig at Astrolabe at the Mount.

“I was so excited – I remember thinking it was the best place in the world. I love coming home. For me, this is where my whanau is, where I come to feel revitalised after touring around the world. It’s where I want to live for the rest of my life.”

The No Place Like Home community survey is available online until Monday, February 20 and Kath implores residents to take just 10 minutes of their time to share their views.

“Our ambassadors have had their say – now it’s your turn. This is an exciting time of change and we want our community to take part in the process of shaping our region into a number-one destination for residents and guests alike.”

To join the conversation and fill in the online survey, visit

Every entry goes into the draw to win a number of prizes from local businesses, including a luxury weekend escape for two in the Bay of Plenty.


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