Yes, it’s true, Kiwis love Australia and it must be true as it is in the ‘newspaper’.
In January, I happened to be reading on-line Stuff NZ, one of favourite news sites as we have two of our former Kiwi young writers who have earned employment as journalists.
According to Chris Roberts, chief executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa said New Zealand is like domestic travel for most Australians. Yearly New Zealand gets 1.7 million tourists from Australia, 450,000 from China and 347,000 from the US, he said.
Let’s get a realistic look at this. Take a sample group, our young writers, almost every one of the Kiwis whom I have spoken have said they have been to Australia. Some even did fruit picking in Queensland, New South Australia and Victoria.
One won a scholarship to Sydney University for two years to complete her degree. Moreover, Melbourne was a favourite destination for many and they always had someone from ‘home’ to stay with.
What this means, is that I for one, can vouch for the stats that Chris Roberts quotes and moreover there are hundreds of thousands of New Zealand who work in Australia – some short term, others long term who have made their home here.
In November 2018 - 221,800 Kiwis returned from an overseas holiday, with 105,100 coming from Australia alone, keeping it in the number one spot for Kiwi tourists.
As one million Kiwis are living in Australia, this explains why so many want to visit their family and finds. Moreover, visiting Australia for the past 50 years is affordable and easy as the language was the same, there are lots of attractions and it was not too far off the beaten track for new travellers.
We live not 5 minutes from the Gold Coast airport and according to this report there was a 60 per cent increase in its passenger capacity to the Gold Coast since February 2018.
The two key ingredients stated is the ‘less cost’ and that Australia is ‘close’.
The trend goes both ways - with Australians being the most numerous visitors to New Zealand.
To many Australians, going to New Zealand was basically domestic travel. The passport issue needs some attention still, in so far as there has been a large tourism push to drop the passports for Australians and New Zealanders when visiting each other’s countries.
Chris Roberts says, "Australia, as our nearest neighbour, has always been our biggest visitor market... New Zealand is easy and cheap to get to, and very familiar."
New Zealand visits
My first visit to New Zealand was as a chaplain to the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games and flew first to Christchurch and trained it to Auckland. A year later we held the South Pacific Sports Ministry conference in Auckland that entailed a visit to Wellington.
Our entire family travelled to New Zealand in 1997, flew into Auckland, then to Napier for a Tronson family reunion. We then drove to Wellington and the ferry to Picton on the South Island and the train to Christchurch.
Ten years later 2008 my son and I accompanied my mate Ian Carlson who was diagnosed with terminal Lymphoma and we landed in Christchurch, drove to Dunedin to visit his college friend and family, did the mountain train and then drove to Queenstown and back to Wellington. We had a few days mid North Island and made our way to Auckland and then home.
There were several more trips to New Zealand in the 2000’s, one was as the Australian cricket tam chaplain in 2000 on tour in New Zealand, others were for ARPA conferences including 2012 in Wellington, and in 2013 we held a young writers conference in both Auckland and Christchurch and our first trip on the AlpineTrain to Greymouth. 2014 to Wellington for another young writer conference. In 2017 was another ARPA conference in Auckland then we made our way to visit friends in Invercargil and The Bluff.
Then another young writer conference in Christchurch in 2018 and a family trip on the Alpine Train to Greymouth. All these trips were cost effective and like travelling within Australia.
We are just one tiny speck of this interchange of travellers to and from New Zealand. Ministry is a major part of these many travel experiences.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html