Waterskiers from across New Zealand have all eyes on Tikitapu (Blue Lake) now that its floating wetland is complete.

Rotorua Wake and Ski Club president Ian Barker and treasurer Paul Laing got their first experience of the slalom course with the new addition this week.

Mr Barker said the New Zealand Waterski Association committee had expressed an interest in it to see if it could use the idea elsewhere.

He said on Tuesday, when there were strong winds, the slalom course would have been "virtually unski-able".


"It was quite strange skiing on flat water when you have the wind against you," he said.

"There was lots of hooting and hollering going on. This wetland means we can ski at virtually anytime. It will be a lot more popular."

He said it meant club days would be more of a hit, rather than hit and miss, and they expected to see more waterskiers visiting from other parts of the Bay of Plenty and further afield.

"The wait has been worth it," he said.

He said the new wetland was "awesome" on many fronts.

He said the original blue drum safety barrier was an eyesore and that the new wetland would only get better aesthetically as the plants grew.

Tikitapu was not at its water quality target levels, he said and the main idea of the wetland was to remove nutrients from the water table. The plant roots grow down into the water to around 1m and absorb phosphorous, nitrogen and other nutrients.

"The shape of this wetland will make it very efficient for this purpose. Also, fishermen in the know fished alongside the previous drum barrier as it was a magnet for fish and this wetland will be better.

"Fish love to live under structures. Koura and other aquatic life thrive in wetland roots making it a smorgasbord for fish. And as the plants grow it will turn into a perfect breeding site and predator-free haven for the rare dabchicks which nest in reeds and plants on the shoreline."

The first competition on the new-look course is in December.

"There is excitement from all around New Zealand. We're the first club in New Zealand, so there's been a lot of interest."