Rotorua’s Love Story…

Rotorua is home to many attractions, much like the attraction of love between Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

This Maori Cultural love story has been told by many and is still to this day one of Rotorua’s most famous love stories.

Hinemoa was the daughter of a great chief who lived on the shores of Rotorua. Her beauty attracted many men that wanted her as a wife. Tutanekai, who lived in the middle of Lake Rotorua on Mokoia Island being one of these men fell madly in love with her. However, his rank in his tribe was not high enough for Hinemoa’s father to allow him to marry her. Tutanekai was determined to win her love so every night sat on a high hill on Mokoia Island and played his flute in hopes that she would hear his love song.

Across the water Hinemoa could hear her lovers flute play. However, so could her father who decided to pull all the canoes high up on the shore so she was unable to get to him. This saddened Hinemoa who was thinking of other ways to get to her love. She wondered if it would be possible to swim across the dark and wide lake to the island.

On a rock by the shore she stood silently. There she left her garments strapping three hollow gourds to either side of her body to keep her afloat as she entered the water and swam towards the sound of Tutanekai’s flute. Using all her strength she finally made it to the shores of Mokoia Island where she stumbled across a hot pool. Trembling with cold from the long swim, Hinemoa entered the hot pool to warm herself.

Out of the darkness a servant appeared to fill a gourd with water for Tutanekai. The startled Hinemoa decided to disguise her voice as a male asking the servant ‘for whom is this water?’ The servant answered, ‘It is for Tutanekai’. Hinemoa then said, ‘Give it to me’ and drunk from the gourd before breaking it into pieces. The servant returned to Tutanekai and explained what had happened to which Tutanekai replied ‘Go back and fetch me some water’. The servant returned once more explaining that a man in the hot pool had broken a second gourd of water. Tutanekai was furious and made his way to the hot pool to confront this man.

Hinemoa heard Tutanekai approaching and hid under the overhanging rocks by the pools edge so that he may not find her easily. After searching, Tutanekai went feeling around the edges of the lake and caught her hand. ‘It is I she said as she sat in the pool from shyness. ‘Who is I’? He proceeded to answer. ‘It is I, Hinemoa’. Tutanekai then said ‘Ah, can this really be’? She rose from the hot pool with all her beauty and answered ‘Yes’. He took her hand covering her with his cloak and led her back to his home.

As the sun rose and the people of the village came out of their homes to get their breakfast. Tutanekai’s father noticed that his son remained inside his home. His father sent a servant to check on Tutanekai to make sure he was not ill. Peeking inside the window the servant saw four feet and returned telling Tutanekai’s father. ‘Who is his companion? Go quickly and see’ his father said.

The servant peeked back through the window and shouted so loud that all of the village heard, ‘Oh! Here is Hinemoa, here is Hinemoa in the house of Tutanekai’!

The village people turned and said, ‘This cannot be true, Tutanekai could not have won the heart of the beautiful Hinemoa’?. But then Tutanekai came out of his home with Hinemoa behind him and the people could see it was true.

Tutanekai and his love song had won the heart of the beautiful Hinemoa.

A New Zealand Summer with Covid19 and what happens next…

Working in the hospitality industry there are a few things we take for granted here in Rotorua, like Kerosene creek overflowing with happy tourists, big red Tamaki buses going round and round the round-a-bouts, saying a good solid Kia Ora and repeating Whakarewarewa as many times we could to blushing little kids from distant lands.

As Kiwis we all grow up looking forward to summer school holidays, spending times with our families and Santa coming to give us some Roses chocolates and if you are lucky enough, weekends away at the beach.

Here in Rotorua we are all about the lakes, mountain bike trails, a bit of a night luge or some shade in Kuirau park or a Redwoods nightlights treewalk.

This year there is no Glo festival or Flochella floating music concert at the Blue lake (or Lake Tikitapu as we call it). There seems to be quite a lot missing off our usual event calendar, however we still have our Stock car, Superstock Championship at Paradise Valley Speedway so all is not lost. We also still have our Rotorua Farmers markets and weekly Night market so Mum’s and Dad’s can get their good jandals on and keep a sense of normality this summer.

Usually, Rotovegas is packed with overseas tourists from Australia, China, India and all over the world. This is the year we really do have to enjoy our own back yard and do what we can to support the local businesses. This new year I want to do the Canopy tour experience and maybe a soak in the Secretspot hot tubs or Polynesian spa and massage package.

I did most of my Xmas shopping by buying gift vouchers via Rotorua Tourist attractions as they to are a local business, though instead of emailing the voucher to my recipient I just sent the vouchers to myself so I could print them out and put them under the Christmas tree for my family and friends. Except of course the Roses Chocolates!

When our country returns to normal, borders open and life goes on, we will remember this New Zealand summer as our summer. The Christmas we spent with ourselves, domestic visitors and all the things to do in Rotorua.

Happy new year everybody and fingers crossed 2021 is a pearler.

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Rotorua Tourist Attractions Launches

Homegrown “Click and Go” Voucher system launches in Rotorua

Rotorua Tourist Attractions has launched as a New Zealand’s only  “Click and Go” Voucher system allowing travellers to create their own travel package or GIFT to a family member or loved one, an employee or a mate.

Local hotelier and founder, Mike Gallagher, states “Covid has reset how travellers research and purchase travel. Our new “Click and Go system” allows travellers to put together their own package or gift their favourite activities to loved ones.”  The website showcases a complete range of visitor activities, accommodation and dining options, making it a one-stop shop for people looking to browse the extent of activities Rotorua has on offer. 

The gifting option is the unique point of difference. “The site has taken a strong approach towards the gifting angle. Especially in a year like this one, rather than purchasing stuff, why not treat that special someone to an experience and support local businesses. From high adventure to tranquillity, vibrant dining to wellness packages, Rotorua has something for everyone” adds Gallagher.

The web-site is locally owned and operated. It brings together local experiences, attractions and accommodation into a one stop shop where tourism operators are not expected to pay high commissions. The revenue generated stays in New Zealand and is re-invested in marketing for Additionally, unlike other online platforms, there are no schemes for massive discounting and patchy availability, making the platform a reliable source for activities, experiences and accommodation options available all year round.

“But this doesn’t mean we’ve ruled out the odd weekend deal and activity combo here and there” reminds Gallagher.

The website also acts as a time planner and budgeting tool. Families can plan their experience and arrive at their destination knowing that everything has been paid for in advance via contactless payments. By pitching the experiences as a gift, voucher sales are expected to increase, providing businesses with much-needed cash flow to get through this current pandemic.

The system was built by industry leader STAAH. Their cloud-based gift voucher software has been customised to the tourism industry to streamline the customer journey.

“The pandemic has certainly rewired consumer preferences as they seek out local experiences,” says Edwin Saldanha, Regional Manager – Oceania and Head of Marketing, STAAH Ltd. “Gift vouchers are a way for operators to monetize this preference and build a much-needed revenue stream that brings in an instant cash injection.”

The website allows Tourism Operators to log into their own portal and manage their product offerings. Graphic and text reporting helps track results, and users have the ability to create bespoke packages with partner tourism attractions or deals to attract customers during quiet periods. With over 70 offerings of local activities, accommodation and restaurants already featured on the site, the website is rapidly growing.

Future development is already underway to feature distressed inventory, new homepage filters, blogs and many more additions.  Tourist Attractions is New Zealand owned and will be rolled out to other regions in the future.

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