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Will Wellington Boot or Give a Leg Up to Tourism in Kapiti?
October 2013
By Melissa Miller
The natural beauty of Kapiti is brilliantly captured in the painting by Karl Andrews

One of the candidates in the mayoral elections in Wellington, Jack Yan, envisions Kapiti becoming the new gateway to Wellington and North Island with the building of a new international airport and high-speed rail route.
Whether he will win the mayoral election on 12 October is one question; another is how far-reaching his powers would be should he gain office in affecting the infrastructure and long term planning in the region.
Whether local residents in Kapiti love or hate the concept being proposed by Yan and regardless of the arguments for and against, there can be little doubt that inception of a project such as this would bring trade and jobs to the area, as well as giving tourism along the Kapiti coast a huge boost.

Civil Aviation Authority Approval
Kapiti Coast Airport (formerly Paraparaumu Airport) used to be the main airport for North Island until the re-opening of Wellington International Airport in 1959. The airport was bought by Sir Noel Robinson in 2006, who has since divested 75% of the ownership to Todd Property Group, having formed a new company: Kapiti Coast Airport Holdings. Since then the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority has approved the airport for international flights, paving the way for the new route between Kapiti and Christchurch which will be operational from 4 November. The airport is expected to expand its operations in the future.

Getting the Word Out
Promoting the many great things about Kapiti is essential to the growth of our tourist industry locally. There is such a lot to recommend the area: its proximity to the big city; the opportunity to cast off every day cares and just enjoy the sense of freedom that can be had in the great outdoors, with the fantastic coastline and beaches; Kapiti's island and marine reserves and the chance to see some rare and unusual flora and fauna; its eight museums, featuring local history, travel and transport and the island's heritage; the Kapiti Arts Trail which is held every year on the first weekend in November; not forgetting of course the chocolate factory at Paraparaumu. Neither can we forget the opportunities for visitors to see more by getting into the air with a flying holiday, scenic flight or flying lessons out of Kapiti Aero Club; while River Rock Escapes offer kayaking and rafting; and Kapiti 4x4 Adventure are a fantastic chance to really escape into the natural beauty of Kapiti. With paintball and laser; golf (New Zealand's best 9 hole course); snorkeling, diving and spear fishing; hiking and mountain biking; boredom is never going to be an issue.
There is no lack of activities or sightseeing for visitors to Kapiti and the continuing development of the area as a major tourist destination is good news for local businesses.

Tourism Development
Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) is working with other agencies and with companies such as Kapiti Company Limited to raise the profile of Kapiti as a tourist destination outside the local area to attract visitors in to the many attractions and events which take place here year round. With long stretches of unspoiled beaches, amazing scenery and so much to do and see, Kapiti is still very much the "undiscovered" New Zealand. Many of the major holiday companies offer packages which take in Wellington and the surrounding area; while Iglu Cruise Company ranks the capital of cool in their top ten cruise stops for the Antipodes , with a seal coast safari to Tongue Point a firm favourite. Kapiti is only a step away from Wellington and within easy reach for visitors, regardless of the length of their holiday, whether they are staying on North Island or enjoying a two centre holiday and splitting their time between the islands.
As part of their promotion of Kapiti, KCDC have worked with others in developing a local brand. The Kapiti brand, which is a registered trade mark, is available for businesses and tourist destinations to use upon application. Guidelines have been produced to support tourism and marketing agencies in presenting a consistent approach, contributing towards ensuring that the brand has a strong and reliable presence for visitors to Kapiti.

Themes and Values
The message being promoted to visitors is of Kapiti being THE place for a great escape within easy reach; an opportunity to relax, rediscover real values and enjoy an authentic experience – the chance to be ourselves in an otherwise busy world.

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