Paul Chaplow is Whanganui's new salesman.

And he says there are untapped and new tourism opportunities the district needs to jump on.

In his new job with Whanganui & Partners Mr Chaplow is charged with getting people to visit, stay, live and spend money in Whanganui and develop new tourism operators.

"That's the bulk of the role but it's also about supporting current attractions to help grow their businesses," he said.


"It feels like people are starting to look out of the big cities now and so in Whanganui we need to get in front of Tourism New Zealand to encourage Whanganui to be on the mindset for that."

Whanganui has "authentic and real stories" to tell.

"There is a special feeling when you come to Whanganui that I don't think you get unless you stop for a while and move around in it," Mr Chaplow said.

"I think Maori cultural experience - and I'm not talking about the typical kapa haka kind of big show stuff - but intimate story telling, real authentic kind of experiences.

"There's some amazing stories and relatively recent history."

The potential canonisation of Mother Aubert was another opportunity for Whanganui, he said.

"It is something that could really make a difference to the River Rd and could make more opportunities for operators in the area.

"I think that's an area we need to plan for. We don't know how big it will be but I think it could be actually very big."

Whanganui should not be afraid to work with its neighbours, he said.

"We don't have a huge financial resource like a lot of the other districts do so I think we need to work closely with Taranaki and with Manawatu.

"I guess the thing is tourists don't know regional boundaries so we need to work with Ruapehu as well and create tourist routes. It'll make our dollar go further."

Mr Chaplow has shifted to Whanganui from Ruapehu and brings experience working in tourism.

Living in Owhango with his wife and three children Mr Chaplow was the general manager of Forgotten World Adventures which runs rail tours between Stratford and Taumarunui.

In the past he has run a wilderness lodge in British Columbia in Canada, taking grizzly bear and polar bear tours.

"We called it the Milford Sound of Canada. I'm not sure if I was... I might have been the first Kiwi to be a grizzly bear guide."

Having been raised in Taupo and lived in Wellington, Mr Chaplow said he knew the area well.

"Whanganui always kind of kept popping up on the radar as a place we might want to live and then this role came up. We're really, really liking being here."