The proposed spa complex for the lakefront (on old QEII Hospital site) is a great drawcard for Rotorua's tourism but there deserves a much more dynamic building than that planned. But I won't hold my breath because the developer is the same one that has given us the most shambolic shopping centre ever in my view.
The lakefront has long been regarded as an iconic location and the local council has invested resources in a number of concept master plans to capitalise this potential. But judging on what was published in the local paper a week or so ago a building comprised largely of concrete, steel and glass leaves me cold (physically and emotionally).
The international spa world has many eye-catching buildings and those by waterways are usually constructed incorporating local timbers. Surely, Rotorua should look to its forests for both inspiration and building materials for such a unique site.
Also, the spa complex needs to be reflective of other structures for the lakefront's longer- term development. For instance, the eventual replacement of the Soundshell building. A row of innovative and creatively designed wooden structures snaking along the lakefront would place Rotorua in line with other first-class international spa-tourist centres.
Opportunity for te reo
Much has been written lately about the inclusion of te reo Maori in our schools, homes and communities, including the potential for its acknowledgement in our occasional everyday speech. Certainly being Aoteoroa's first bilingual city is a milestone in that direction, and this being te Wiki o te reo Maori (Maori Language Week), I thought it might be a good time to raise my observation that we are only partially utilising a wonderful opportunity for education and inclusion in our everyday encounters.
The Rotorua Daily Post regularly feature articles that include Maori words and phrases. Articles are the perfect venue for introducing and reinforcing especially the most often used references in our commonly shared experiences, and while many columnists often do provide an English translation for the Maori expressions used, just as often they do not.
While I think I can sometimes glean the meaning from context, that is both unreliable and potentially inaccurate or lacking the subtlety of distinction. Although extremely helpful in this regard, a computer Maori translation program may not be everyone's option.
Could columnists translate all Maori language references each time they are used? They introduce such beautiful imagery into each article, which can foster respect and interest in the language, and certainly shine as examples of 'multi-cultural inclusion'. Even though many words or phrases become commonly understood over time, there is always the potential for new readers to be seeing them for the first time.
Nga mihi (thank you)