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Auckland Institute of Studies and the Tonga Sustainable Tourism Programme

Auckland Institute of Studies involvement in the Whales in a Changing Ocean Conference stems from Dr Semisi Taumoepeau’s work for the Tongan people. In 1982, as Director of Tourism, Semisi with the technical assistance and advice from SPREP, set up the Tonga Whalewatch industry in Tonga. Auckland Institute of Studies is providing poster sessions, adjunct workshops and administrative support connected to the Whales in a Changing Ocean Conference. Every lunchtime of the conference staff members will deliver poster sessions on a Kingdom of Tonga Whale Day and research on the Tongan whale watch community. On Monday 3rd April a workshop on guided wildlife tours for whale watch operators and other stakeholders will be led by our staff. If you have any queries about these poster or workshop sessions or about sight-seeing in Tongatapu please contact us through jonathons@ais.ac.nz  

Spear-headed by the dedication of Dr Semisi Taumoepeau towards his twin homelands of Tonga and New Zealand, Auckland Institute of Studies has been involved in research, education and economic development initiatives in the Kingdom of Tonga. Through its 2006 partnership with the Tongan Ministry of Education, Auckland Institute of Studies works in conjunction with Tonga Institute of Higher Education (TIHE) to help meet the educational needs of Tongans, home and abroad. Auckland Institute of Studies is supporting the conference as part of its Tonga Sustainable Tourism Programme. Along with Dr Semisi Taumoepeau, Tourism and Hospitality Programme lecturers, Dr Nick Towner, Anna Addison and Jonathon Spring will be working at the conference.

Dr Taumoepeau is currently Associate Director of the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI) based at AUT University, which brings together experts from around the world to deliver innovative research solutions for the industry. Recently a member of the NZ Institute of Pacific Research (NZIPR), a NZ government sponsored research body, based at University of Auckland. His role at Auckland Institute of Studies is as Director of Pasifika Relations. Contact Dr Taumoepeau at semisit@ais.ac.nz 


 Anna Addison has had extensive travel and tourism industry experience including American Express Travel and Air New Zealand.  Anna’s passion for excellence in customer service in the tourism industry was recognised by winning multiple Air New Zealand Pride Awards. Anna has also delivered training in the Pacific Islands. Anna is currently working towards her Masters of International Tourism Management and won the 2016 Emerging Research Award at Auckland Institute of Studies. Research interests: Pacific tourism. Contact Anna at annaa@ais.ac.nz

Dr Nick Towner’s doctoral research focused on surf tourism in the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia and sustainable community development. An enthusiastic surfer, who owned and operated a surfing tour company in New Zealand. Nick has travelled extensively throughout the Asia Pacific chasing the endless summer. Along with Semisi and Anna, Mike Donoghue and Linda Bercusson, Nick has worked extensively since 2015 to bring about the Whales in a Changing Ocean Conference. Contact Nick at nickt@ais.ac.nz

Jonathon Spring’s PhD study is on guide-visitor interaction during guided wildlife tours conducted by the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi in New Zealand and Pacific Whale Foundation in Hawai’i. Jonathon’s research interests are in guide training, informal learning, visitor attractions and ecological restoration. Contact Jonathon at jonathons@ais.ac.nz

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