Rotorua leaders are ticking off a win as the Government officially rules out a fourth managed isolation facility for the city.
News that Christchurch has been selected to house another managed isolation facility (MIQ) instead of Rotorua has been described as "simply awesome".
Public opposition had been strong with Rotorua residents preparing to protest on Saturday at Whakarewarewa Village to show a united front.
Concerns included added pressures on district health board staff, virus outbreaks, hotel beds being taken away from visitors and the fact Rotorua already had three MIQs.
In announcing the new MIQ facility at Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed other managed isolation facility options were considered in Rotorua and Auckland but were rejected because of health and MIQ workforce constraints.
Hipkins said no suitable facilities were found in Hamilton and Wellington.
With overseas Kiwis queuing to come home and too few MIQ spaces to meet the demand, the Government previously confirmed it was looking at adding facilities in Rotorua and Christchurch.
Rotorua already has MIQ facilities at the Ibis, Rydges and Sudima hotels.
Te Paetapu o Te Pākira Marae at Whakarewarewa Village representative Aneta Morgan said Saturday's protest would not go ahead.
"We would like to warmly thank Te Arawa whānui for their support and for standing in protest with us.
"With this announcement today, we can happily ask Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Arawa and our wider community to stand down."
Organisers had intended to manage the protest into groups of 100 of people to meet level 2 restrictions.
Te Arawa Covid Response Hub kaumātua Monty Morrison said the protest would be replaced with a celebration.
Morrison and Sir Toby Curtis had written to Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Kelvin Davis requesting a meeting and that meeting took place on Friday last week.
"We got that meeting and clearly our voices have been heard," Morrison said. "This is simply awesome."
Morrison said the victory was not just for Te Arawa.
"Our view was just one of many. The great news here is the community has responded and presented a collective view. That's really the celebration."
He said while the frustration of shortage of MIQ facilities was understandable, a proposed fourth MIQ in Rotorua was a risk that was "simply too much for us to bear".
"While we have a base level of confidence around our existing sites, they weren't without their teething issues in the initial months. The seriousness of Delta means we simply cannot afford that level of risk in our rohe."
Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey said the decision acknowledged the significant role the people of Rotorua continued to play in keeping New Zealanders safe, and ensuring that responsibility was fairly shared.
"These decisions are not easy, these facilities have to go somewhere, however I thank the minister who I believe made the right call in on this.
"I want to acknowledge our local leadership from our mayor, our chamber, our community, but most of all, the people of Te Arawa, who through this process, were able to talk as Treaty partners to the Crown, rangatira to rangatira."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said it was good the city had been listened to and she thanked Hipkins and his Cabinet colleagues for that.
"The prospect of more MIQ in our city was genuinely worrying and it was good to see the community and local leaders, including our MPs, getting activated and voicing their concerns.
"Those of us who met with MIQ officials last month – including representatives from council, Lakes District Health Board, Te Arawa and Rotorua Economic Development – were very emphatic that Rotorua is already doing its share of the MIQ load for New Zealand and cannot sustain any more.
"For us it was about supporting our health and police staff, who are already stretched supporting our existing MIQ facilities, supporting all of our businesses and operators who rely on tourism and ensuring we retain capacity for visitors.
"We are still in very challenging times with Covid and New Zealand is not out of the woods yet, but here in Rotorua we are also trying to work on some other very big local challenges, like housing."
Tūhourangi Tribal Authority chairwoman Kirikowhai Mikaere said its people were thrilled given concerns an MIQ facility would be set up nearby.
"The village provides income, shelter and spiritual sustenance for an iwi that has contributed hugely to the fabric of this nation.
"The proposed MIQ development would have significantly impacted our cultural obligations and responsibilities and inhibited our city's economic and tourism recovery. Now that this cloud has passed, we can go back to focusing on supporting our whānau through Covid."