KEY POINTS

  • The video stars comedian Tom Sainsbury posing as a member of the ‘Social Observation Squad’
  • It is part of the tourism board’s ‘Do Something New’ campaign to encourage domestic travel
  • New Zealand is yet to open its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic

New Zealand is really really bored of the same old poses on Instagram posts, and has urged tourists to try something new. In a campaign video, the country’s tourism agency asked travelers to stop copying the photos they see on social media and discover new things to do.

In the video, comedian Tom Sainsbury poses as a member of the “Social Observation Squad” and says he has been alerted to a situation. “It’s been happening a lot lately. People have been seeing those photos on social media and are going to great lengths to copy them,” he says. 

He opens his Instagram feed to show examples of the poses tourists copy — hot tub back shot, man sits quietly on the rock contemplating, and hot dog legs. Dressed as an official, Sainsbury says that the “classic one in these parts” is the summit spreadeagle, and goes on to reprimand a couple copying that pose atop Roys Peak, a popular tourist destination in New Zealand.

“I have seen all this before. We all have. But this summer, we are clamping down on anyone travelling under the social influence,” he tells the couple. 

Bjoern Spreitzer, Tourism NZ domestic manager, noted in Stuff that the same pictures or poses kept coming up, time and time again, no matter the location. “There are so many incredible things to do in New Zealand, beyond the social trends.”

New Zealand is yet to open its borders for tourists following the COVID-19 outbreak. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this week that the country’s borders will remain closed for most of this year, but travel arrangements with neighboring Australia and other Pacific nations will be considered. 

The video starring Sainsbury is part of the tourism board’s “Do Something New” campaign launched in May of last year to encourage domestic travel. 

While launching the campaignr, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall had said it was the perfect time for Kiwis to make their “New Zealand must do” bucket list item a reality. The agency had earlier released a song, written by and starring comedians Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek, as part of the campaign. 

The tourism industry is among New Zealand's biggest earners and attracts 3.8 million international visitors annually The tourism industry is among New Zealand's biggest earners and attracts 3.8 million international visitors annually Photo: AFP / William WEST