Editorial: Visitors relish taste of our city

By Kelly Makiha

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Pohutu Geyser.
Pohutu Geyser.

This week I have had the pleasure of entertaining a group of Tourism New Zealand delegates hosted in our city by Maori in Tourism Rotorua.

The idea of such "famils", or familiarisation trips, is to show off what we have to offer in the hope they will spread the word in the right circles that Rotorua is a must-visit.

No one knows hospitality like Rotorua - and especially Maori. Local Maori have been hosting visitors for more than 100 years.

Their contribution to New Zealand tourism was recognised on Tuesday morning at a dawn service when Tuhourangi was presented with a Maori wooden pou, a ceremony the delegates took part in.

To have the delegates here was quite the coup for our city. They were treated to three days of jam-packed thrills and spills, sights and sounds and experiences like they will not see anywhere else in the world.

I saw the delegates on Monday night as they were welcomed at Te Whakarewarewa and Te Puia before spending an evening being hosted beside the amazing Pohutu Geyser.

The geyser blew for almost the entire two hours the guests were there, treating our manuhiri (visitors) to a jaw-dropping spectacular.

On their final night at Skyline Rotorua, the delegates indulged in a feast like no other, which included mussels sourced from Maketu that were bigger than the size of your hand.

During the final speeches Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler summed up what we all hoped to hear by saying they will be back.

He said the delegates didn't truly understand Rotorua before coming here, but now they have, the city will hold a special place in their hearts.

Good show Rotorua. That's advertising money can't buy.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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