Pokemon to go to Rotorua Tulip Festival

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POKEMON: Alexia Goodall (left) and Hine Taylor during the Pokemon Go Walk event for the smartphone app game. PHOTO/FILE
POKEMON: Alexia Goodall (left) and Hine Taylor during the Pokemon Go Walk event for the smartphone app game. PHOTO/FILE

A Pokemon 'battle' is set to attract a new audience to this year's Rotorua Tulip Festival.

According to a press release sent to the Rotorua Daily Post today, festival organisers have collaborated with Pokemon Go Rotorua to host a battle which will see Pokemon lures dropped in the Government Gardens and central city during five days of the October 1-9 festival.

It is expected to lure Pokemon Go players from Rotorua and beyond.

Prizes will be at stake with Pokemon Go challenges including gym battles, excellent throw competition, lowest CP, rare Pokemon and best dress-up Pokemon outfit.

Pokemon Go Rotorua spokesman Mark Hepi said it was an exciting collaboration.

"We are really excited about the council supporting us and sponsoring over 32 hours of lures during the tulip festival.

"Rotorua has become a bit of a talking point with Bay of Plenty Pokemon communities, with many players in surrounding cities already looking to take advantage of the lure drop."

The Rotorua festival is the largest tulip festival in New Zealand, featuring more than 100,000 tulips, which were planted by Rotorua Lakes Council in gardens around the city several months ago.

Rotorua Tulip Festival organising committee member Portia McKenzie said an opportunity to attract a new audience to the festival had been seized, especially as the virtual pastime had really taken off in Rotorua.

Rotorua has a lot of "pokestops" - locations where the virtual characters are located for players to find and capture them - including several in the Government Gardens area and in the inner city.

Recent research had identified exactly how Pokemon-friendly Rotorua was, Mrs McKenzie said.

"We discovered that, in comparison to other centres, Rotorua has a high number of high-level Pokemon Trainers and Pokestops within close proximity of each other.

"We spent a mere $37.50 to get a local Pokemon-Go leader to send out lures via a Pokemon Go Facebook site to attract more people to Rotorua's Thursday night market."

Pokemon Go players from not just Rotorua, but also Hamilton, Tauranga and Taupo, came to Rotorua for Pokemon Go action.

As a result of that success there will be a Pokemon Go Tulip Festival battle hosted by Pokemon Go Rotorua, with lures bought by council.

"This is such a fun way for council to collaborate with the community and to encourage others to join our city in making the most of our beautiful gardens."

Lures will be dropped on various dates and at the three locations during the festival.

These are: October 1, Government Gardens 9am-5pm; October 2, Farmers' Market 9am-1pm and Government Gardens 1pm-5pm; October 6, Night Market 5pm-9pm; October 8, Government Gardens 91m-5pm; October 9 Farmers' Market 9am-1pm and Government Gardens 1pm-5pm.

There will be plenty to do and see at the Tulip Festival, other than Pokemon.

There will be the opportunity to take tulip tours, listen to guest speakers, engage with celebrity speakers, and participate in spring garden talks, family picnics, bike rides, markets, and more.

There will also be separate bus tours which will visit Dalton's Plantation and Homestead Gardens; and Plenty Flora and Sandara Gardens.

A wide range of activities for children are also being staged.

Celebrity guests are New Zealand chef and TV One Kiwi Living foodie sensation Michael Van de Elzen, award-winning contemporary furniture designer and maker David Trubridge, acclaimed New Zealand landscape designer and repeat Chelsea Flower Show exhibitor Xanthe White, and New Zealand Gardener magazine editor Jo McCarroll.

The Rotorua Farmers' Market will be launched during the festival, plus two art exhibitions with a distinct Dutch flavour are being staged at Rotorua Museum.

Fifty seven digitally remastered Rembrandt works will be exhibited, as will the work of Dutch-born Rotorua artist, the late Walter Bakkenes (1920 - 1986).

For further information visit www.tulipfestrotorua.co.nz

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