The Waikato Culture Park is a profit-for-purpose Social Enterprise registered as an LLC in New Zealand (coy nr. 7565397)
The magic started with 'Dinosaur Darren - the Legend Hunter' and his highly successful interactive Education Outside the Classroom mobile museum, 'Dinosuars Rock NZ'. At least 200,000 children, teachers, parents, communities and corporates have enjoyed his unique fusion of ancient Maori legends of 'te Taniwha and te Ngarara' and dinosaur discovery in New Zealand.
Over 10 years of touring New Zealand demand grew from families asking to see Darren's show more often and their persistent suggestion that a theme park be built became loud and clear, and set the Poihi Bush whanau on a mission to make the dream requests a reality.
Darren's sister, Natalia returned home at Christmastime 2017 and expanded on the dinosaur theme park idea with Pacific Rim legends and love stories from four First Nations and a variety of family-friendly entertainment, events and hospitality. She then created a design concept and business model to turn the theme park into a commercially viable and investible proposition (based on case studies of World's best practice in operations and visitor experiences utilised successfully by Walt Disney's Disneyland in Anaheim, California and the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Laie, Hawaii). We must include a hat tip to the fabulous Maori Villages in Rotorua also, and to the outstanding contribution to our nation by Tourism NZ, TIA, TECNZ, NZ Story, and Waikato Regional Tourism.
In 2018, Project feasibility in the Waikato quickly pinpointed the untapped cultural tourism opportunity, and also opportunities to better serve the Education Outside the Classroom Market. ...And we saw areas of need by Schools and within our Maori and Pasifika communities that literally pulled on our heart strings!
By mid-2019 it was clearly important to strategically build the proposed theme park and education services in stages with each stage being self-sustainable within the domestic market. Innovative strategies including Environmental Sustainability, Social Inclusion and Community Collaboration are key priorities in the mix. We registered as a Social Enterprise (LLC) to be a vehicle for creating 'profit-for-purpose'. The purpose being to create multi-generational socioeconomic benefits through Social Inclusion Programs and our 'Loved, Enough, and Not Alone' charitable trust (the L.E.NA Foundation).
In 2020, we survived a rough year under the pressures of Covid-19 Pandemic just like everyone else. We cancelled some awesome community fundraising events, but we are grateful for what that year taught us and highlighted to enhance our plans. 2020 also revealed the strength of our strategic thinking and planning undertaken in 2018 and 2019 that reinforced development of a self-sustaining business model within a domestic market. 2020 was also a rewarding year to meet with some of the Waikato Region's truly wonderful school principals, teachers and EOTC administrators and to validate our new EOTC program.
At last in 2021, life changing and empowering partnerships have been entered into with an international line up of First Nation Indigenous Entrepreneurs. We're also grateful that the milestone of becoming investor ready and discovering the ideal location for the theme park in the Waipa District, is being met with great enthusiasm! We are currently seeking funding from multiple avenues to build Stage 1 (part parking, the ticket office, and the Pacific Rim Village) and hope to open by late Summer 2022.
We want love not war, and joy not pain... so Covid-19 take a hike! We're on a mission to infect the World with joy!
As adults we know there is an inner child in everyone who just wants to get out and play. Natalia and Darren are a couple of 'unicorns' from the Poihi Bush whanau who want to keep the magic alive for adults and inspire children to dream big!
About Natalia Robson-Bush: Our CEO with global commercial business experience across multiple sectors from Mining, Oil and Gas to Retail, has lived and worked in Australia, Europe, UK, USA and NZ. Nat has a laser-sharp focus, an insane work ethic, passion to go the distance and love for family, faith and hope are Natalia's key drivers.
About Darren T. Bush: Devoted Father of four, a background in Underground Mining, Safety and Security Management and an extraordinarily authentic and gifted entertainer, educator and historian. Darren is the kaitiaki of an Ancient Mere (carbon dated circa. 570 years old) used to slay the last known living Ngarara in the Waikato!
Ko Poihi Bush te Whanau (originating from Kawhia)
Ko Taheke Poihi Bush toku Papa (deceased)
Ko Deanna May Senserini-Robson toku Mama (Italiano, Scots, Pakeha)
Ko Waikato Tainui, Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati te Kiriwai, Ngati Haua Ngati Waenganui te iwi
Ko Te Arawa te iwi, Ngati Rangiwewehi te hapu
No Kirikiriroa ahau - Hamilton East
We are a culturally-led team of Maori, Pasifika, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Australian Aboriginal Entrepreneurs who share a common passion for Indigenous Culture, and who are deeply experienced, talented, and motivated. We specialise in Education and Entertainment, Performing Arts, Storytelling, Commercial Operations and Tourism.
We are supported by multi-cultural teams based locally and internationally.
In addition, we are blessed by support from Waikato Maori, cultural advisers, Kaumatua and Kuia, mana whenua and tangata whenua who are dedicated to the service of our people and the communities that surround us.
If you would like to find out more, please call our CEO, Natalia Robson-Bush on 027 598 2451.
Capturing and preserving the much loved stories and legends of the first nation indigenous tribes of the Pacific Rim for generations to enjoy.
Celebrating the first nation indigenous tribes of the Pacific Rim and sharing their stories, songs, dance, customs, food and traditions, celebrating their culture in joyous ways not seen before.
Caring for our Communities through Social Inclusion programs is a key driver of our charitable trust, the L.E.NA Foundation. Let's get infected by joy and ensure there are no whanau left behind!
Caring for New Zealand, for our visitors, for our people and our assets. Environmental sustainability is a top priority. We acknowledge and support the tremendous work done by Tourism Industry Aotearoa in creating the Tiaki Promise in this space.