Promoting a purpose-driven, intergenerational mindset

A hospitality worker entertaining customers at a vineyard in Waiheke, Auckland.

Photo: Camilla Rutherford


Drive better outcomes for the tourism industry and employees by promoting the values and achievements of purpose-driven, intergenerational business models.

Creating a future where... Businesses are driven by purpose and values, and contribute to a regenerative tourism system with thriving, engaged employees.


Research on business models is showing that purpose-led organisations that take an intergenerational approach to their operations have more engaged employees. At the same time, they create value for their operators and shareholders [1] - “values creating value”. Consumer attitudes towards supporting businesses are also changing, with 76% of New Zealanders saying they would stop buying a company’s products or using their services if they heard about them being irresponsible or unethical [2](see the section on Preparing for the future).

While the focus of this action plan is on employees, the success and purpose of a business has a significant impact on employee wellbeing. If purpose-led businesses can create more value, this can potentially be shared with employees (MBIE research has found that, historically, some businesses in tourism had low profit margins that meant they struggled to afford paying higher wages [3]).  Lower wages disproportionally impact Māori, who represent approximately 13% of total wage earners and 15% of total minimum wage earners [4]. Low wages also affect other groups such as women and ethnic minorities.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori entities and businesses lead the way in incorporating purpose and intergenerational wellbeing into their business operations. This approach balances multiple values and objectives — spanning social, cultural, financial, environmental, spiritual, and political domains [5].

These business models are not the exclusive domain of Māori businesses.  For example, large segments of our rural sector operate similar models and, like Māori, are driven by longer-term, sustainable, intergenerational values. There is an opportunity for businesses to learn from these approaches where having people at the centre encourages the nurturing and growth of employees. There is also an opportunity to showcase those tourism operators who practice these values already and can share the value created with their employees. 

Despite the value of a longer-term purpose-driven model, it does come with some challenges, and potential vulnerabilities that businesses need to carefully work though to realise the opportunities [6].


The proposal is to build a programme of work that tells the stories of the application of intergenerational thinking, and the application of purpose-led business models. An initial approach could be to share the stories of the operators taking a Te Ao Māori values approach (such as kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga).

Initial actions include:  

Showcasing positive stories

  • Identify and promote case studies of business and entities leading the way in taking an intergenerational, sustainable approach to business operations and developing people who work in tourism.

Sharing purpose driven business models

  • Sharing details of how purpose driven business models build systems to develop people who work in tourism and create value for shareholders while balancing the need for financial returns to sustain the business.

As part of this proposal, there is an opportunity to leverage other Tirohanga Hou in this draft Action Plan such as the Tourism and Hospitality Accord and the Public campaign to showcase better work in the industry.