It's a long way from Te Whakarewarewa Valley to Los Angeles, but Rotorua local Renata West will be taking his legacy with him when he takes up a new role with Tourism New Zealand as its new trade development executive for North America, based in the United States.

Mr West is currently a marketing manager for Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI).

Mr West, who is of Finnish, English, Tuhourangi and Ngati Whakaue descent, has worked at Te Puia since 2008, but is part of a family legacy dating back to 1919 when his great-great-grandmother Mereraukura Wiari started guiding in Te Whakarewarewa Valley.

His sister Te Rina is also the star of the Famously Rotorua domestic campaign, and his mother, Kirimatao, and youngest sister, Arohanui, starred in international advertising campaigns for the second Hobbit movie.


Te Puia general manager for sales and marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean, said Mr West's move was a loss for Te Puia NZMACI, but his appointment was one that the organisation - and Rotorua - can be extremely proud of.

"Renata has made a significant contribution during his many years at Te Puia - starting as a guide and working his way up to a key role in the marketing team. One of his key initiatives in the past 18 months has been the introduction of the free Te Puia Whanau Card for Rotorua locals.

"At Te Puia, we are passionate about identifying and mentoring young talent, and providing them with experiences that lead to other opportunities. Our goal is that they will be brand ambassadors for Te Arawa, Rotorua and New Zealand, gain even more experience, and hopefully one day return here to take on a leadership role of their own and continue the cycle. Securing this role is a credit to Renata and the relationships he has built during his time here," she said.

Mr West has mixed emotions about leaving Te Puia and Rotorua to take up the new role.

"This is my home and it always will be, but I'm looking forward to stretching my horizons beyond Rotorua in the next step in my career."

In 2012, Mr West graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Law and was later admitted to the Bar.