Long-running tourism campaign to be refreshed with focus on Maori culture.

The long-running 100% Pure New Zealand brand campaign is in for a revamp, emphasising Maori culture.

The marketing slogan has been used to promote New Zealand around he world since 1999 and Tourism NZ chief executive Kevin Bowler said it would be modified to put a greater accent on Maori culture.

"I think we're getting ready for the next generation," Bowler said.

Details were still to be finalised, "but one thing that could be stronger is our accent on Maori culture - that doesn't come through as strongly as we like".


He said Tourism NZ had been working with the Maori tourist industry on the campaign that would be the latest variation on a theme.

"I think if we execute the next phase well, we'll be emphasising the people much more so than a one dimensional view of a clean country."

The 100% Pure campaign has been criticised for implying New Zealand had a spotless environment record.

Bowler said it was never meant to suggest that and opponents of the campaign used it as a "lever to make their point in quite a narrow sense".

His organisation markets New Zealand to tourists around the world, and has a budget of more than $110 million a year.

Prime Minister John Key, who is also Tourism Minister, said the 100% message had served New Zealand well.

"As a general rule most countries around the world would die to have the marketing success of a slogan we've had - Australia's gone through three or four in that time," he told The Business at the Trenz tourism trade show in Auckland. "I think it will continue to work."

AUT tourism professor Simon Milne, who is also director of the NZ Tourism Research Institute, said the brand had a good shelf life.


"I think it will be a critical shift to make," he said. "How it does evolve over time will be interesting."

One of the reasons for the longevity of the 100% Pure message was that it was easy to adjust.

"To have too much of a focus on the environmental purity is a little bit dangerous as we've seen on many occasions with that notion of green washing," he said.

"That shift to the cultural is a really positive trend."

New Zealand tourism was recovering from flat or declining spending per visitor during the past 10 years.

"I'm a big believer that the focus needs to be on yield, not just numbers, and if we were to bring in those cultural human dimensions that does make it easier."

Auckland University senior lecturer in marketing Mike Lee said there was a risk in changing the thrust of any campaign and with such a high profile one Tourism NZ was likely to face criticism no matter what it did.

"It's been around so long - you're never going to please everyone," Lee said.

If there was too narrow a focus on Maori culture there was a risk that other tourist operators may feel short changed. Race relations problems could also be thrown into the spotlight.

"You could be opening up a can of worms but I suppose they're saying it needs reinvigoration and keeping up to date."