Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's education and lifestyle reporter.

Rotorua alive with Pokemon hunters (+video)

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Around 80 Pokemon hunters, armed with sturdy footwear and their smartphones, joined forces, scouring Rotorua for the invisible creatures, being rewarded with some rare finds.

The gamers gathered at the Government Gardens on Saturday for the Rotorua Pokemon walk before setting off to Sulphur Point, then back towards the Lakefront.

The local event was organised on Facebook as part of nationwide walks uniting Pokemon Go players.

Alexia Goodall (left) and Hine Taylor made the most of the city-wide Pokemon Walk at the weekend. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Alexia Goodall (left) and Hine Taylor made the most of the city-wide Pokemon Walk at the weekend. PHOTO/BEN FRASER


The app allows players to find the Pokemon using a GPS signal. When the player closes in on one, the device's camera turns on, showing the Pokemon in "real life".

Bryan Wieblitz, along with one other, stepped up on the day as a leader.

"There was nobody organised to lead the event on the day so I thought I'd better step up, otherwise people may have dispersed.

"I was actually quite surprised with the turnout and it was great because immediately people were in a chatty mood and were keen to make new friends."

Mr Wieblitz said it was awesome to see people from different parts of the country at the Rotorua event.

"There was a couple from Wellington who had been in Taupo and decided to come over for our event - that was really cool."

Pokemon chasers in the Government Gardens. Photo/Ben Fraser
Pokemon chasers in the Government Gardens. Photo/Ben Fraser


For Mr Wieblitz, like many adults, his love of the new game comes from the nostalgia of having played the franchise's original Pokemon games when he was a child.

He said players on Saturday were rewarded with a couple of rare Pokemon.

"We were in Sulphur Point and all of a sudden a couple of players saw there was a Magmar and just started running and shouting - that one is quite rare so people were really happy with that find.

"There were also a couple of Dratini spawning down at the Lakefront which was also a good find."

Mr Wieblitz hopes to set up another Rotorua event in a few months time.

Another avid Pokemon fan, Hine Taylor, said everyone at the event was really friendly, despite setting out on the walk as complete strangers.

"There was a pretty good turnout and everyone was in high spirits - you would just start talking to someone and then it was like you had known them all your life.

"I'd definitely take part again, I've been a Pokemon fan since way back and I love that it's getting people out and bonding with others."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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