It is time to refresh and “reskin” the prominent “welcome to TURANGI” sign on SH1 outside Tongariro River Motel.
As the sign above attracted so much negativity and criticism from certain locals and Taupo District Council last time it was updated in 2016, SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed manages everything at TRM) is anxious to avoid any further conflict and fines? She imagines “public consultation” will win them over? Then, if TRM is fined again, we can claim in our defence that we have consulted with the wider public and TRM’s inmates and it is their choice as well. Councils hate to see their bitchiness and prejudice being exposed in public. People power always wins… TRM are very PC…
The original old council sign was obviously directed at tourist fishos. Council removed that, their reason being that the logo was from the previous council. They promised to refresh the sign with their new logo but never returned. TRM was conned by our own Council. But when a completely new sign was erected, TRM was fined the next day. We are still confused as to why?. Council claimed NZTA (New Zealand Transport Authority) had objected but were never able to provide any evidence of the complaint… Perhaps I should never have pinched their old sign in 2010?
The offensive language aka directional signage (take your pick) at the base of the new sign has since been removed by Council. It is quite tricky – i.e. apparently it is acceptable to advertise our name as the “Home of the Woolly Bugger”, but it is not acceptable to provide directional signage (“Turn left to Tongariro River”) for tourists. But as RaftingNZ is no longer in business it is necessary to update the prominent sign with a different theme. After five years all signs need refreshing to be noticed. So should TRM try to repeat the “Welcome to Turangi” theme or what could we change the message?
To follow modern Wokey trends it could all be in Maori? (Just joking…)
As there are several other large billboards erected by Council on all main road approaches to Turangi some consideration is needed to not replicate them. Instead, TRM need to complement them with a welcoming tourist message. Tourism is still the essential economic lifeblood of Turangi. The main local attractions of trout fishing, hiking in the National Parks, biking the Tongariro River trails and rafting the Tongariro River are already well covered. So SWMBO is trying to select something touristy that is more appealing and sexy to reflect the real local relaxed spirit of Turangi. She even wondered whether to contact a professional advertising agency but – particularly after the covid destruction of the tourist industry – TRM did not have anything like that kind of promotion budget.
One scheme was to include some prominent politicians in the sign – then Taupo Council officials would not dare remove it. SWMBO even had a choice of photos with our wonderful Taupo MP, Louise Upston, catching a trout in the Tongariro (above) or enjoying a Tongariro River raft trip? But that rafting company has now gone the same way as many other tourist-based businesses.
SWMBO even looked at other well-known politicians’ photos with a fishy theme… Too controversial, despite a great photo of their “guide”.
But as trout fishing images are already displayed on other council billboards, the choice was back to TRM’s library of about 10,000 photos to try to find something special. The design format for a large road sign hoarding is really just common sense. It has to be attractive and easily understood at a glance with a simple short clear message able to be instantly digested at 60 kph. Most of TRM’s photos were too messy and not suitable for enlarging onto a large advertising hoarding. The aim was more than just selling the motel as the original motel sign still dominates the corner. SWMBO wanted something to reflect the 100% natural warm fuzzies of beautiful Turangi.
Eventually, She had a flash of inspiration and contacted the tourist promotion people in Taupo to explain Her dilemma and asked for their help. As TRM was the most prominent corner location for advertising to traffic from Taupo, the signage did not want to compete with their existing signs but needed something eye-catching that shouted out what Turangi is all about. Or something like that. The expert promotions professionals from DGLT (Destination Great Lake Taupo), aka “LOVE TAUPO”, immediately responded and TRM is most grateful for their professionalism. What great people! What an extraordinary transformation from TDC’s uncooperative belligerent compliance attitudes, to find a competent team wanting to promote Turangi at its best. They have even offered to assist with costs. Amazing!
A wide range of photographic ideas and concepts of various touristy themes and scenes were considered and they suggested some real beauties. They have a huge library of iconic photos of the region, many of which we loved, but perhaps they were not quite appropriate for a huge roadside sign.
Below are some of the photos that TRM suggested (and rejected?) for your consideration. The aim is to try to capture the tourist “spirit” of Turangi in one or perhaps several scenic photographs. Your feedback will be very welcome.