Creative agency RUN were approached for a project for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where they developed a unique eco-tourism product to promote the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area in Niue.
The forest covers almost a quarter of the South Pacific nation, and contains some of the most threatened plants and animals in the world.
With 2017 being the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, and eco-tourism currently worth over $20 billion globally, the brief was to develop and create a biodiversity product educating people about the Huvalu Forest. The aim of the project was to inform, educate and excite both visitors and locals on the importance of Niue’s forests in sustaining the island’s ecosystems, it’s culture, and biodiversity conservation in the Pacific.
Along with being the creative agency contracted by the UN, RUN was charged with the project management, strategic direction and facilitation of the project. This included sub-contracting Landcare Research and consulting with various government departments, village councils and local guides.
As part of the six-month project RUN sent a research scientist and a photographer to Niue on a fact-finding and photography mission. From this they created a forest biodiversity display, for use in the Niue Visitor Information Centre, combining photography, text, maps, books and artefacts, as well as an interactive touch screen – the only one in the country.
Another core component to the project included point of interest signage throughout forest tracks, to inform visitors about aspects of scientific interest, historical and cultural significance and indigenous uses of the forest ecosystems.
Local hardwood Kafika was collected from the forest to use as sign posts, directly linking back to the project objectives. Self-tour brochures were produced to further educate visitors about the trails; and a custom typeface was designed specifically for the project, based on old Niue signage, for use throughout the project. A large window display was also designed and installed by RUN at Hannan International Airport, to give travellers a glimpse of the new eco product.
This project was carried out at no cost to either the Niuean or New Zealand government, but they will ultimately reap the benefits of this amazing initiative. The launch and finale of the project coincided with the visit of the New Zealand Prime Minister the Rt Hon Bill English and a parliamentary delegation, where it was well received.