Rotorua Museum is offering a free 16-week training course for anyone interested in joining their team of award-winning volunteer guides.

"You don't need to be an expert in art or history," said volunteer coordinator Julie Parsons.

"We're looking for people who are good communicators and have a passion for the stories of our unique region."

Currently the museum's team of dedicated volunteer guides offer hourly tours of the museum to visitors from New Zealand and all over the world.

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Museum director Stewart Brown said the guides provide an important interface between the museum and its visitors and perform a key service.

"I don't know of too many other museums in New Zealand that offer free, hourly guided tours each day, so our award-winning volunteer guide programme really is an industry leader in this country," he said.

More than 100,000 people visit Rotorua Museum every year and many of them will experience true 'manaakitanga' (traditional hospitality) from our enthusiastic and committed group of volunteers.

Each guide attends a comprehensive training programme, one morning a week for 16 weeks, with the opportunity to take part in ongoing training.

"I really enjoyed the training course, meeting new people from the community and learning all about the history of our area," said volunteer guide Sheila.

"It (the training course) taught me many many things I didn't know about the city I have lived in since 1968," said volunteer guide Angela.

After their training finishes, guides need to commit to doing a minimum one tour per week for at least a year.

Since running its first training course 15 years ago, more than 250 volunteer guides have gone on to provide free tours to Rotorua Museum visitors, sharing the region's unique history and culture with visitors from all over the world.

For anyone interested in becoming a volunteer guide the next training course begins with an orientation morning at Rotorua Museum on Wednesday 16 March, 9.30am.

For more information about becoming a volunteer guide contact Julie Parsons at Rotorua Museum by phone on 07 351 7823 or by email to julie.parsons@rotorualc.nz