Award recognises cruise leader's contribution

Wednesday 3 October 2012, 1:35PM
By Tourism Industry Association New Zealand

A man who has made a massive contribution to the growth of the cruise ship sector in New Zealand has been recognised by the tourism industry.

Cruise New Zealand Chairman Craig Harris has been awarded the 2012 Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Award for his outstanding contribution to the tourism industry. He was presented with the award by Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key at the 2012 TIA Summit in Wellington today.

Mr Harris was instrumental in establishing Cruise New Zealand, an incorporated society with the objective of growing cruise ship visits to New Zealand, in 1994. He has chaired the organisation since then, overseeing huge growth in foreign exchange earnings for New Zealand from cruise ship visits.

Since the 1996-97 season, cruise passengers have grown from 19,400 to almost 174,000 in the 2011-12 season. Last season, international cruise passengers spent more than $132 million on excursions and shopping. The benefits of this spending are distributed widely around New Zealand, with international cruise passengers disembarking at an average 5.6 ports around the country, from Auckland to Stewart Island.

The judges said the success of Cruise New Zealand in growing cruise tourism would not have occurred without the work of Mr Harris, who invested extensive time and shared his knowledge and contacts to the benefit of the entire industry.

Significant achievements have included:

  • Spearheading the development of an Auckland cruise terminal
  • Inviting key decision makers from cruise lines to New Zealand to convince them to base their ships here
  • Providing guidance to regions on how to develop their facilities to attract cruise ships
  • Paving the way for cruise ships to enter the fiords without having to apply for research consent for each visit
  • Successfully lobbying on behalf of the cruise sector against a number of regulatory changes that were likely to negatively impact on cruise tourism.


Mr Harris was awarded life membership of Cruise New Zealand in 2009.

He has also been generous with his time in work for the wider tourism industry. He chaired Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) for three years, from 2001-2004. He has been a trustee of the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum since 2002.

Horwath HTL Director Stephen Hamilton says Mr Harris is a worthy winner of the Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Award.

“Craig has indicated that he intends stepping down from the Cruise New Zealand chair in 2013. He will leave a massive legacy in the form of a large and growing sector of New Zealand tourism that is well positioned for future growth,” Mr Hamilton says.

The Tourism Industry Awards are managed by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA). For more information, go to