A Whangarei charter school has brought its knowledge of Northland and Maori culture to a tourism project that will be seen around the world.
Students from Te Kapehu Whetu have teamed up with regional tourism and development body Northland Inc to produce a series of images of the region that will be used to attract international visitors to Northland.
Paul Davis, general manager of Northland Inc, said he approached Whangarei District Council about plans to organise a Maori culture-focused photo shoot to promote Northland and was referred to Rangatahi Inc - an initiative by charter school Te Kapehu Whetu which aims to unlock rangatahi entrepreneurship in Te Tai Tokerau.
"We gave them the brief and said this is about manaakitanga and the students should approach this from the perspective of: If international visitors were coming to your place, what would you show them and how would you go about that?" he said.
"We gave them the overall concept, they worked out how they would put it together, locations, who would be involved in what shots - it was an exercise they could do in their classes but it was also something for us which was very real and very needed."
Te Kapehu Whetu students Maia Mokaraka, 15, and Te Rangi Munroe, 16, said they were not part of the group who made decisions on what the photo shoot would look like but were models for it with other classmates. Miss Mokaraka said she appreciated the need to ensure the photos were authentically Northland.
"They wanted an authentic feel to Aotearoa and to give people a glimpse of our way of living," Miss Mokaraka said.
Miss Mokaraka and Mr Munroe travelled to different locations with photographer Sara Orme including the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Paihia and Ruapekapeka Pa.
Miss Mokaraka said the photo shoot felt authentic and natural.
"We got to do things like make harakeke putiputi (flax flowers) with weavers, we didn't have to try too hard," Miss Mokaraka said.
Mr Davis said the students understood the brief right away.
"They were great, right from the start they knew what we were trying to do. They know Northland and parts of Northland really well," he said
The images from the photo shoot will be used to promote Northland in visitor guides and the tourism trade directory and will be provided to international media and will be used in trade shows off shore and in New Zealand.