Release summary

  • Heidi Gillingham has been appointed the new Programme Director of Go with Tourism
  • She will take over from Matt Stenton in the New Year
  • Heidi’s appointment is an internal progression from her role as Regional Coordinator

Heidi Gillingham has been appointed the new Programme Director of the government-funded initiative Go with Tourism.

She takes on the position currently held by Matt Stenton, who is stepping down on 17 December after three years’ building the programme from the ground up.

The Go with Tourism initiative is governed by an Industry Advisory Group and its chair, Bruce Robertson, oversaw the recruitment process. Go with Tourism is additionally managed by Auckland Unlimited, therefore finding a suitable person who can play a leadership role in Auckland’s own industry was a key factor for this role.

Industry & Investment Director, Pam Ford, says that Matt was an invaluable member of Auckland Unlimited’s team. “Not only is Matt the kind of leader that creates an incredible working environment, his entrepreneurial and innovative way of thinking is refreshing and exciting.”

“Go with Tourism reached great heights under Matt’s leadership, and he will be missed. However, we are delighted to welcome Heidi to this role; her experience in HR and people development within the tourism industry will be key to growing the programme further.”

Heidi will be progressing internally from her current position in Go with Tourism as Regional Coordinator for the Lower South Island. Her previous work experience includes human resource management, and training and development coordination with Taco Medic, AJ Hackett Bungy and Queenstown Resort College.

Heidi says she is excited to be taking the helm of a project so critical to New Zealand’s tourism industry. “Building the tourism workforce is going to be a vital part of our industry’s recovery over the next five years and it means a lot to me to be able to play a key role in working towards this goal.”

“I want to acknowledge Matt and the fantastic work both he and the Go with Tourism team have done so far. I look forward to building on this momentum and leading Go with Tourism and the industry towards further success.”

Matt Stenton says it was an honour to have worked on this project for the past three years. “I consider Go with Tourism to have been my ikigai: the thing which combined all my passions and got me out of bed every morning. However, I love a new challenge and I look forward to what my next adventure will be.”

“Finding the right leader for the Go with Tourism team was very important to the team and me, and I’m so pleased to have helped progress the career of someone in our team. I know Heidi will do an amazing job.”

Heidi will take over as Programme Director in the New Year.

Notes to Editor

Photo credit: Go with Tourism

Heidi Gillingham won the award for HR New Zealand Emerging Practitioner of the Year in 2019 when she was the Recruitment & Training Officer for AJ Hackett Bungy

Further information on Go with Tourism can be found at

Go with Tourism launched in Auckland in April 2019, spearheaded by Auckland Unlimited. In August 2019, it was announced that Go with Tourism would receive $5.2m of the government’s International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy across a three-year period to enhance the programme and expand it nationwide.

Go with Tourism was originally developed following a nationwide research project led by ATEED and TIA was commissioned in 2018 to discover what New Zealanders, particularly young people, think about working in tourism. The resulting report, Tourism Youth Perceptions, found that there is stigma associated with the industry.


Helen Shaw
Marketing Communications Manager
M +64 21 514 588