By Annette Smart
East Auckland had a fantastic show day on Friday, July 10.
East Auckland Tourism and Howick Local Board member Bo Burns hosted some important guests who were keen to see why we are so passionate about our region.
Our two guests from ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, the region’s economic development agency) were Steve Armitage, GM Destination and Zac Watson, product development manager Tourism/Destination.
Steve and his team have been very active putting together a Destination Auckland Recovery Plan over the last few months with the help of tourism and hospitality operators throughout the Auckland region, including East Auckland Tourism.
Their visit out east was all about highlighting our amazing region and the different sites and activities on offer that cater to both local and regional, and hopefully, in the not too distant future, overseas visitors.
The East Auckland Tourism team included chairman Andrew Laing of Howick Deliveries, who is also a Howick travel agent, board members Sarah Blong from Paradice Ice Skating, Senthil Natarajan from Happy NZ Tours, administrator Annette Smart, with thanks to Wild Adventures NZ for the use of their amazing van to get around and about.
We were unable to go too far afield due to limited time. We started at Stockade Hill where our very own Howick town crier Jim Donald, greeted us as we enjoyed the 360° views from this significant site.
Bucklands Beach and Musick Point then Half Moon Bay Marina followed, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Grangers.
Next stop was the Howick Historical Village. Here we met general manager Krissy Perrett and visited beautiful Puhinui House. It was great to hear that some activities at the Historical Village are coming up soon with the official opening date planned for spring.
Next stop was our unique Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple where we were greeted by Karzin Leong, their marketing and events officer.
While Karzin is busy organising the upcoming 2020 Cherry Blossom Art Salon exhibition, she did have time to give us a quick tour which was so interesting and much appreciated by us all.
Returning to Howick we travelled along Point View Drive to view the incredible expansion of Botany, Ormiston, Flat Bush and East Tamaki to one side, and the beautiful rural views on the other, arriving at Mangemangeroa Reserve.
Those spectacular views across the estuary impressed both our visitors.
We continued past Howick Beach and arrived at our last stop, All Saints Church. Here we were met by Morrin Cooper, the last Mayor of Howick. Morrin loves this region and has been a faithful supporter of East Auckland Tourism since its inception.
He has an in-depth knowledge of the history that surrounds us and shared his enthusiasm for the region with Steve and Zac.
East Auckland Tourism is optimistic about the future of tourism and hospitality in east Auckland and is hosting an event on the recovery and future of this industry later this month.
It was a great pleasure, and we were so grateful to have had the opportunity to show off this part of our region to members of ATEED.
We are looking forward to having a similar visit to the other side of east Auckland, the Pohutukawa Coast, Clevedon and Hunua very soon.
Annette Smart is the administrator at East Auckland Tourism