Hello Taranaki

Words by Hannah Mumby

It’s a platform that puts Taranaki’s best foot forward, with a purpose of enticing more foot traffic our way in return. 

Hello Taranaki is both a web platform and app which launched last month thanks to the get-up-and-go of Taranaki businesspeople Jo Bourke from Bach Break, John Christiansen, Principal of Harcourts New Plymouth, and actress and artist, Linda McFetridge. 

A Covid-19-born initiative, the digital directory is designed to showcase Taranaki for what it is — an untouched paradise of natural wonders, amazing events, attractions, restaurants and people. It’s set up to entice both tourists and locals to come and experience the region’s gems for themselves, says Jo.

“We have so much here for people to see and do, and to date there hasn’t necessarily been a robust platform that showcases all of those things. It’s been really exciting to put together a hub that travellers can use to find those spots that generally only locals might know about.”

The lure of the new technology would also come as a benefit to local industries who would reap the rewards of an increase in foot traffic, she says. 

“When people go to look up holidays, if they can look at something like this and really get a feel for what they are planning, they are more likely to come to Taranaki over places where that same resource may not be available.”

But the resource will only be effective if local businesses support the subscription-based initiative by signing up to feature on the platform. For that reason, John says they have kept the cost to a minimum. A free trial is currently in progress until the end of April 2021 for those signing up, and thereafter, it will cost $5 a week for businesses to be exposed to thousands of online users. The response has been strong to date, with approximately 250 advertisers signing up to the platform.

“We need people to be on it, otherwise it defeats the purpose,” he says. “And the purpose is certainly not to make money from this. It’s a community initiative. Any money coming in will help us to maintain the platform, keep the content up-to-date, and give us the opportunity to grow and develop.”

Technology advancements are a big part of that development, with plans in place to develop an instant chat, as well as 3D features of key locations such as the Coastal Walkway and Pukekura Park. They’re also hoping to introduce offers and deals for those interacting with the app to use at local attractions, hotels and establishments. 

Jo says at the heart of Hello Taranaki is a desire to establish something that would help kickstart the local economy in the wake of Covid-19, while also giving people real and valuable experiences. 

“Covid-19 has taught us that people are wanting to make real connections with real people. We know if we can help to expose the region’s wonderful people and activities to tourists and locals, it will make for some really rich, memorable and special experiences for those tripping around Taranaki.”

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