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Read the inspiring speech shared for a recent ITC graduation by an industry leader

Posted on 13/04/2022 by

Haka Tours General Manager Eve Lawrence recently gave an excellent speech at an ITC graduation.

Eve Lawrence is the General Manager for Haka Tourism Group, where she runs Haka Tours, NZ Snow Tours, and ANZ Nature Tours. Naturally, she is an incredible role model for anyone aspiring to work in the tourism industry.

She recently shared the speech she wrote for our graduates.

With her permission, we are sharing some of the highlights of her speech, so you can enjoy her pearls of wisdom about tourism, travel, and making a career out of something you love!

Eve’s graduation speech for ITC

Firstly I would like to congratulate each and every one of you for successfully completing your NZQA level 4 and 5 diplomas in Tourism & Travel Management.

I know from personal experience just how tough these last 2 years have been, not only for myself, but for each and every team member, employee and business leader in the tourism ecosystem. Leaders today are leading in a world moving through crisis and disruption—where challenges have no known solutions, and where there are solutions, there are far too many pathways and very few clear ones.

Much like the grieving process, the covid process has come with stages.

Stage 1 – Disbelief

  • Disbelief that global travel could shut down
  • Disbelief that our revenue could go from 21 Million to ZERO overnight
  • Disbelief, that the whānau many businesses had built had to be dismantled to keep the business alive
  • Disbelief that we weren’t able to see family members or friends
  • And most of all, disbelief that we couldn’t be with sick or dying loved ones in their hours of need

Stage 2 – Denial

  • Denial that lockdown would last very long
  • Denial that we had to let go of some of our whanau permanently
  • And for some denial, particularly from New Zealand, that covid was even happening

Stage 3 – Acceptance & realisation

  • The realisation that covid was here to stay
  • The realisation that we weren’t going to get our whānau back quickly and that we were going to be operating, as a business on near to zero revenue for potentially months to come
  • And the realisation from team members and employees in the industry that they may lose their jobs in the coming weeks and months

Which spurs on and leads to…

Stage 4 – The hustle

For a business, this is perhaps the most important phase in any journey of resilience, and certainly the stage that separates those who lead from those who follow.

This is the stage that has ensured the survival of our business. Working together as a leadership team, we ensured the survival of Haka Tourism Group, in the same way many others have secured the survival of their businesses for the future.

Ryan, our founding director, sold 3 accommodation properties, leased another property to the govt as a Māori wahine refuge, and also found a new majority shareholder for our Touring Brands. I focused on our environmental and community partnerships and built a range of new active products with our Aussie partners Intrepid to try and target the domestic market just to keep our touring brands in the black.

These things combined have ensured the survival of all our Haka Tourism Group businesses.

Which leads me to…

Stage 5 – The rebuild

Now it may not seem so to you now, but I can assure you that you will be joining the tourism and travel industry at possibly one of the most exciting times in history. Never has there been a better time to consider a career in travel and put all the skills and knowledge you’ve developed during your education to good use.

There are a few things I would urge you to consider whilst embarking on your journey into our sector moving forward.

As an industry we are working harder than ever to become more regenerative, work more effectively with our communities and really engage our manuhiri in our Maori culture. Upskill yourselves on environmental initiatives, our Maori history and what tourism businesses are doing to contribute in these areas.

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. This is something industry leaders don’t do enough.

Collaboration divides the task, but multiplies the successes, and going forward, people who can think through problems and who are collaborative are more important than ever.

For decades the business landscape had rewarded leaders who delivered exceptional short-term performance within their role and parameters. And for decades, the traditional business adage was that economic and social value could not be maximised at the same time.

But this current climate has underscored one resounding truth: we can no longer operate in an either/or world. We are leaders of ecosystems, and leadership is no longer confined by boundaries.

Organisations will need agile Enterprise Leaders — executives who know how and when to perform and transform in today’s complex world, not just in their own business vertical, but horizontally, across the broader business and industry ecosystem, people who value creativity, transformation & those who are adaptive. You need the capability to not only THINK, but to execute.

I strongly encourage you to think like Enterprise Leaders and to do this you need to consider these key questions:

  • What kind of societal needs does your business intend to meet?
  • What impact does your business desire to generate?
  • Who will you partner and collaborate with?
  • What is your purpose? What holds our ecosystem / sector together?
  • How does the business position itself within the ecosystem?
  • How are values created and shared amongst the ecosystem?

Our industry is going to need young, fresh talent now more than ever. So break the boundaries, think differently and express your opinions, because you deserve to be heard.

As you move forward through your careers, If you remember one thing from this speech, remember this; Leadership is an action, not a position.

Become part of the industry

Now it may not seem so to you now, but I can assure you that you will be joining the tourism and travel industry at possibly one of the most exciting times in history.”

If Eve’s words make you feel like now is that time to join the industry, it’s because it is!

You can start studying any of our five incredible course options anytime with Study From Home. Check out our course options here.

Enrol now or get in touch to find out more!

Study From Home – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or


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ITC and SFH staff have more than 187 years of experience between them – what it means for students

Posted on 29/09/2021 by

The wonderful team at ITC and Study From Home.

At ITC, we’re big believers in lived experience.

That’s why our tutors are just great tutors – they’re experts in travel and tourism. They have worked in the industry, travelled plenty, and know exactly what it takes to not just get into travel jobs, but to thrive in them as well.

Together, they have had more than 187 years of experience, and every one of them adds something special for our students.

187 years of experience brings ITC students more than just quality education. It brings a memorable experience for everyone they interact with, support, real life stories, and expertise. The team at ITC and Study From Home ‘go the extra mile’ every day regardless of lockdowns. This is why so many students continue their studies and recommend a friend.

Recently, we asked each staff member to share what it is they do to go the extra mile for our students, especially in regards to recent lockdowns. Here’s what they each had to say!

Allison Jones – Tutorial Team Leader

“Sending students an email every morning reminding them of the amazing effort they’re all putting in during this challenging time, followed by our daily motivational/inspirational quote to get them started for the day.”

Examples are:

  • “Progress is progress, recognise what you’ve accomplished, reward yourself, don’t compare, love yourself, always keep going”
  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela
  • “A year from now you’ll be glad you stayed today” 
  • “Stay positive, think positive, do positive” 

Inder Singh – Tutor

“Answering students questions well and truly outside of business hours because some have to work and some work best in lockdown at that time. Marking online students’ papers outside of my normal hours and sometimes quite late because I know they will want their results quickly, and I want to get them back to their work. My days of work are not just Mon-Fri in level 4, but also some weekend work to help them when they need me.”

Daniel Maine – Marketing & Tourism Facilitator

Daniel has been calling hundreds of wonderful students who we’ve met across the country on a short course, expo or tourism chat. Daniel said that each conversation has been positive and enthusiastic, and he has been the epitome of what resilience is during these challenging times.

Michelle Chatfield – City Campus Manager

Organising extra support for a student to help not only them but their family. Helped with taking some of the pressure off them in such a challenging time. Reaching out to a fellow colleague and contacting them to just spend time on the phone with them and being an ear to listen.

Mel Jenkins – Marketing Manager

“Each day during Alert Level 4 I decided to create a clip a day for students of ITC and the staff so that I could share some motivation and inspiration. I called it Motivation Mel. As I progressed and more clips were produced, I saw the positive impact it was having so I even started sharing it with my own whanau and friends. It’s not only helped those around me but also it’s really helped me personally. It gives me a positive thing to focus on. You can check them out here, or watch one below!

Toni Young – Study From Home Tutor

“Responding to emails and phone calls outside our normal work times is an important part of the support for our Study from Home students while New Zealand is in lockdown. We understand how things are very different at home currently so we are being as flexible and encouraging as we can be!”

Sarah Rouse – Marketing & Tourism Facilitator

“Daniel, Shaz, Jax and myself have been working as a team these past few weeks, working extremely closely together, not only with each other but also to enroll short course students. Every Friday at 5pm we jump on teams and have a little wind down, laugh and chat to celebrate our week. It’s something we all look forward to at the end of a hard week. We are a great team at ITC.”

Susan Afoa – Tutor

“I held an extra class session for my home-class on Friday (which is usually off day off) but with a theme! The students had some remaining resits to do before their week holiday so thought it made sense. I wanted them to complete their resits before Level 4 starts and to also get their well needed break. I knew they needed some motivation to help them stay on track and that usually works when we are all online while they focus on completing their assessments. We then ended off with a Tik Tok for Maori Language week too.  My most recent quote for my students was “Do it now because LATER becomes NEVER!””

Sharon Roy – Course Advisor

“Being able to reach out to those that are keen on kick starting their journey into the travel, tourism, aviation and airline industry even in these tough times and have been able to sign enrolment papers to get a start on their career goal! We had lovely Study From Home students who started this week that had inquired during the lockdown, and being able to help make it an easier process for them and knowing they are students now is an awesome feeling.”

Takeyuki Morita – Tutor

“We have been having lots of time for talking about our life, and having lots of games to entertain the day inside the home as we know we all miss the social life. I also remind them how fantastic an effort everyone is making during this difficult time; I believe it is important for a tutor to let them know that they are making meaningful progress despite the challenges they are facing.”

“We have discussed a lot about how to take care of your physical and mental health during this challenging time, and shared lots of tips. I’ve put on a Shorinji Kempo Martial Arts training for our ITC students online during lockdown for our ITC students. This is self-defence training open to the students and their family members to get some exercise and have some fun too.”

Sarndra Stephens – Employment Consultant

“I have been reaching out to support students, past and present, in different stages of recruitment. Some for part time and others for full time jobs. I have also enjoyed working with students on an individual basis to get their CVs in top shape so they are ready to hit the ground running the minute they see a part or full time job they think has their name on it.”

Nicky McCutcheon – Employment Consultant

“The most motivating part of my role during lockdown has been the ability to create more careers resources which everyone can now use for their future career progression, these are already being used and constantly developing. I have also been able to continue with organising an industry guest speaker (online which is a little different for us) and I am finding some very exciting industry roles which I have been able to put forward some of our students/graduates for. They have attended online interviews with some really successful outcomes and have in turn been my inspiration! Lockdown is not stopping anyone, just giving us a few extra challenges to navigate along the way and what an amazing feeling to overcome some of those hurdles – we are always learning.”

Claire Huxley – Chief Executive

“I’ve really tried to focus on wellbeing for our team (and students). Offering wellbeing workshops, which our Marketing Manager Mel has used to create some excellent material for students and staff. I’ve helped with lobbying, and we were successful in getting the extra Hardship money for our students to support them during a tough time in higher alert levels. Another important focus has been on supporting people in any way so they can get vaccinated, even with time off.”

Louise Griffiths – Tutor

“Our Botany level 4 students complete their studies with us in December this year. Given the difficulties of studying during lockdown it’s been good to re-visit with each student what it is they would like to do when they finish in December. We’ve used this time wisely and worked with Nicky, our Employment Consultant, to assist them with their career conversations and looking at what opportunities there will be available including International Working Holidays. We need to remind them of why they are doing what they are doing and that Nicky has so many jobs available it will be an exciting time to assist them with applications.”

Become part of the family

Interested in studying with Study From Home and becoming part of the family that looks out for each other and goes the extra mile? We’re enrolling now, so get in touch to find out more and take the first step towards an incredible career in travel, tourism, and aviation!

Study From Home – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or

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