Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Stunning attendance figures spur Motion Entertainment hub expansion plans

OPENING: There was a long queue to get in to Motion Entertainment at its opening at the end of November. PHOTO/FILE
OPENING: There was a long queue to get in to Motion Entertainment at its opening at the end of November. PHOTO/FILE

Rotorua's Motion Entertainment has smashed expectations and is taking the next step to expand into Christchurch and Australia.

Developers of the indoor entertainment complex, at Lynmore Junction on the eastern side of Rotorua, said they had projected to have 200,000 people through the doors in the first year but after just eight weeks, they had already reached 100,000.

Developer and Holmes Group managing director Ryan Holmes told the Rotorua Daily Post the land and buildings were now for sale, a move which had long been planned, to raise money to expand the Motion Entertainment brand.

He said once Christchurch was under way, which was expected to be this year, they would look to Australia.

"The tenants are all really happy and some have had to put on extra staff."

Motion Entertainment is dubbed New Zealand's largest indoor entertainment centre and
is occupied by Strike Zone Tenpin Bowling & Timezone Games, Revived Bistro, Megazone Laser Tag, Chipmunks Playland and Cafe, Dialled Indoor Tramp Park, Escape Masters real-life escape game, Lumberjax Mini Golf and XD Dark Ride virtual reality game.

Mr Holmes said he was thrilled with the numbers through the doors so far.

"I've looked into it; if it doesn't slow down then our new goal is 400,000 visitors in the first year."

He said they were looking for a site in Christchurch and hoped to secure land by the end of this year.

He said it would be the same size if not slightly bigger than Rotorua's centre. Australia would be in their sights after that.

Motion Entertainment business development manager Ruth Goldsbury said the development was a bit of an unknown.

She said the aim for this year was to get its conference centre out as a venue.

"We still need to be careful," she said. "We didn't expect this and we still don't know how it will go."

One of the eight tenants at the site, Adrian Judd, said they had been "overwhelmed".

"Our focus now is on refining, developing and enhancing our products."

Mr Judd, who ran Strike Zone in Fenton Park prior to Motion Entertainment's opening, said the sale of land and buildings wouldn't change anything operationally.

"It's been a success so far, and it's just a landlord, so it won't really change anything for the tenants.

"We all just end up paying our rent money to someone else."

Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the launch of Motion Entertainment had been great for the region.

"Not only has it provided new jobs for locals, a cluster of new family-friendly, all-weather attractions and a new state of the art conferencing facility, it has also proven that Rotorua is the ideal place to launch a business," Ms Templer said.

"In the past there may have been a perception that a facility like Motion Entertainment should be launched in a major centre like Auckland, but this success story proves that this is certainly not the case.

"Due to Rotorua's growing local and visitor economy the Holmes Group had the vision to create their showcase facility here and we are happy that this has paid dividends," Ms Templer said.

Meanwhile, Mr Holmes said no matter what the future held for Motion Entertainment, the Holmes Group wouldn't leave Rotorua.

"We are a third-generation business and have done a lot of business in this town and won't ever leave Rotorua as our base."

The sale of the building and land is by deadline private treaty, closing March 9.

- Additional reporting Alice Guy

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