If you hadn't noticed already, this weekend Rotorua hosts the Bayleys National Sevens.

It's the first major sporting event in our city this year - with the Rotorua Marathon, 3D Multisport Festival, Xterra New Zealand, ITM Cup action, New Zealand mountain bike championship races and more to come. The popularity of our city for a wide range of sports from international through to club level has led to the Rotorua District Council working on a strategy for sport.

So what is it about Rotorua that is great for sport?

"Half of New Zealand's population is a three-hour drive or less away which makes Rotorua very accessible," said Rotorua Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson, who is leading the new strategy.

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"We've got fantastic venues for sporting events - indoor and outdoor but particularly outdoor sports. We're spoilt for choice with our natural assets."

Last year, Rotorua was recognised for its events with an International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) World Festival and Event City Award. Judges acknowledged the city's "community leadership and ongoing, concerted efforts and support to provide a positive local environment that is conducive to and encourages the success and growth of festivals and events".

"That was recognition not only of the work of Events & Venues but also the number of excellent event organisers we have in town. Some are professionals and some are club organisers," Mr Donaldson said.

The Rotorua Daily Post Essential 50 lists the city's must-see, must-do and must-try activities and experiences thanks to reader nominations. We'll be highlighting one every day over summer.

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