But yesterday – to his shock and surprise – Badminton Cook Islands president Thomas Ngauru was called up on stage to accept an A1 Meitaki award for the sport’s contribution to tourism.
One of 35 recipients, he was surprised to receive the phone call with the good news. He politely asked: “are you sure?”
Ngauru never expected it, because he didn’t realise sports codes were eligible for tourism awards, and he had no idea he was nominated.
The Cook Islands Tourism Cooperation A1 Meitaki Awards were presented yesterday morning at the National Auditorium dome to acknowledge the people in the Tourism industry and the Rarotonga community who provide authentic customer service to visitors.
Another to be recognised was Chantal Napa, who started the business Chantal’s Concierge three years ago.
When she began, the term “concierge” was not widely used the hospitality industry. Now, she has added more members to her crew – and they too joined her on stage to accept their award yesterday.
Metua Vaiimene, director of destinations development for Cook Islands Tourism, said the industry encouraged tupuranga tangata: the development of our people. This was driven by the tourism values of kia orana, mana tiaki, and of course tupuranga tangata.