Thirty businesses in the Rotorua region attended a two-day wānanga last week aimed at making the region's tourism and hospitality sectors more inclusive for the rainbow and takatāpui communities.
"Our trans and takatāpui communities often face a lot of discrimination in their day-to-day lives," Destination Rotorua Marketing Manager Haydn Marriner said.
"We wanted to ensure with an education opportunity like this, that when our takatāpui communities, our LGBTQIA community, our rainbow community visit Rotorua, that we're eliminating as much anxiety about taking a holiday with us as possible."
RainbowYOUTH facilitator Ben Black said the aim of the workshops is positive.
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"To try and help support them and give them knowledge and information on how they can be a bit more supportive and inclusive to our rainbow whānau," he said.
Lead Facilitator Rosie Leadbitter said it's about creating safer spaces for everyone.
'We know that statistically, especially our trans, non-binary and gender diverse whānau are much more likely to face discrimination on the basis of their identities in public spaces, restaurants, shops etc," she said.
"It's about giving people the knowledge to engage with these communities and these people with these lived experiences and identities in the most affirming way. It's about how to whakamana [validate] them in those spaces and make sure that they know that they're welcome," she said.
More wānanga will be held in the coming months with the aim of making Rotorua one of New Zealand's most inclusive cities.
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