THE RESEARCH PROCESS
The 2017 programme was just the first step in what is envisaged to be at least a five-year research programme to help establish a timeline to identify key trends in tourism, at a time when New Zealand is undergoing fast and significant changes in the patterns of its tourism.
Our primary research area is the coastal village of Raglan, where in summer the population swells to three times its usual size of 3,500 residents. Raglan is world-famous among surfers for having the best left-hand break in the southern hemisphere.
It is also known as a place for potters and artists, all of whom have found a home around a spectacular harbour in which sailors and paddlers might find themselves sharing the waters with dolphins and orca.
Raglan is known for being relaxed, laid-back, and offering a range of activities based around the beach, surfing, horse-riding, good food, and friendly people in a locale with a strong community spirit.
This spirit was demonstrated in 1999/2000 when the community came together to create the Raglan Naturally plan; a vision of what they wanted Raglan to be - and just as important, what they did not want Raglan to be! This community document has become part of the Waikato District Council plan.
In many ways, Raglan represents a quintessential New Zealand experience. But the issue is how to retain that quality of life as New Zealand sustains its domestic tourism while attracting yet more international visitors.
In 2017 the research programme concentrated on monitoring residents and visitors, but over the coming years it has examined other environmental and social issues including the impacts of Airbnb on the housing market, and in 2020 we are currently examining the relationship between peak summer tourism and refuse collection.
We would like to acknowledge the support of the Hamilton-Waikato Regional Tourism Organisation, the Raglan Chamber of Commerce, the Waikato District Council, and many other individuals who have given their time and knowledge. For the various research projects and a summary of findings - please see the section "Research Reports" below.