In all corners of Rotorua today there is a lingering sense of pride, a "well-deserved" sense of pride, at the way the city was showcased to its royal visitors.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an unforgettable day in Rotorua yesterday, with the city's manaakitanga (hospitality) showcased in beautiful sunshine.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick believes the economic benefits of the royal visit to Rotorua will be significant.

"In the wake of the royal visit we now reflect on how it will impact on our Rotorua district in the longer term and we expect that impact to be considerable," she said.

"We can't put a figure on it yet but it is expected that through the exposure Rotorua is receiving we will attract more visitors and more events, including business events, and will increase confidence in our district as a good place to invest and do business.


She said every aspect of yesterday showcased what Rotorua was all about with the spirit of manaakitanga (hospitality) at the fore.

"Overall, the day was about people, relationships and sharing what we've always valued here and that includes our partnership with Te Arawa.

"It was amazing to witness the way Te Arawa and our whole community came together and took collective pride in the opportunity we were given to showcase our unique and iconic district on an international stage.

"Given the diversity of our city and all it has to offer, the impact of the exposure the royal visit has created for Rotorua is likely to last much longer than the visit itself."

Yesterday and overnight the mayor received an influx of feedback from around New Zealand and around the world.

"You cannot put a dollar value on the type of promotion big occasions like this provide and we look forward to sharing what Rotorua has to offer with visitors who are likely to follow in the royals' footsteps.

"Our community as a whole will reap the rewards of this extraordinary exposure."

Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said he was certain there would be pride felt by the city today and it was "well-deserved pride".

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet the public in the Government Gardens. Photo/ Ben Fraser
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet the public in the Government Gardens. Photo/ Ben Fraser

"I am proud of everyone that contributed. The police did an amazing job; a lot of work was put in by the Ōhinemutu committee and the council staff and there was a fabulous turnout from the community."

The royal couple spent the morning at Ōhinemutu, where they were welcomed on to Te Papiouru marae by more than 1000 people.


They visited St Faith's church, ate lunch with invited guests and met some of Te Arawa's high achieving youth.

Following Ōhinemutu they visited Rainbow Springs Nature Park where they named two three-day-old Kiwi chicks.

Rainbow Springs business manager David Hennigan said the visit had been a really special experience and the team had done an amazing job giving the royal couple an overview of the conservation work they do.

The Duchess named her chick Koha (meaning gift) and the Duke named his Tihei, from the Māori saying 'Tihei Mauriora' meaning the "sneeze of life".

"We know there will be plenty of interest in these chicks as they grow up."

He said the couple also got to see a brand-new chick which had hatched moments before their arrival, "which was incredibly special".

A taonga pounamu (treasured greenstone) carved specially to mark their visit to Rainbow Springs was gifted to the Duke and Duchess on behalf of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett.

Hennigan said the team was certainly grateful for the Duke and Duchess' interest in conservation and in kiwi.

"With such wide coverage of Rainbow Springs and the National Kiwi Hatchery after yesterday's visit we are hopeful that people will be even more interested in kiwi and in saving our national icon.

"Our redeveloped hatchery and our kiwi experience, Kiwi Burrow, will open to the public on November 12 and we're looking forward to helping our visitors learn about, see, and help our kiwi."

People had started arriving at the Government Gardens earlier that morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the couple on their only public appearance.

By the time they arrived at 3.30pm thousands had lined Queen's Drive bringing their flags, signs, banners and gifts for the royal couple.

When the couple arrived they grabbed every hand they could, took every gift offered and took time to chat with some of the locals.

To wrap up their 16-day tour the royal couple visited the redwoods where they took the opportunity to have some time to themselves and Prince Harry remarked on how special and beautiful the forest was.
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Donaldson was with the couple at the forest and said it was a great opportunity to showcase the natural environment and how lucky we are to have that.

"I am absolutely confident they enjoyed the wrap up to their tour and there has been a really good coverage on international media already.

"We certainly lucked out with the weather."

He said it was lovely to show the couple some manaakitanga and "our special place".

In this morning's Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting councillor Charles Sturt described the day as "stunning".

"To see Harry get up there and korero better than many of us ...right from the start to the end was world-class."

The royal couple has delighted crowds at Rotorua's Government Gardens.

He said he was "overwhelmed" by the day and passed his thanks to Te Arawa and the community.

Councillor Karen Hunt said the visit was a reminder of the relationship between Te Arawa and the Crown.

"It's about the relationship and partnership. It isn't just something on paper, it's real, it's face to face and it was a wonderful celebration of all things Te Arawa and Ngati Whakaue did a fantastic job.

"The ripple effect is going to carry on for a very long time."

Councillor Tania Tapsell said she believed the visit would have a ripple effect economically.

"This is what Rotorua has always done. We are known for our manaakitanga - our hospitality.

"Many people around the world will be looking to us as a great place to visit and, hopefully, to live," Tapsell said.

Rotorua Economic Development chief executive Michelle Templer said the visit was "pretty exceptional".

"People look at the coverage and the big thing they see is that it was beautiful, outstanding, the connection to the people, the expression of manaakitanga and how everything worked like clockwork.

"That's important to people looking to come here for a major event or relocate their business. That's changing perceptions and [the visit] really knocked it out of the park.

She said it was a great privilege for Rotorua to host the Duke and Duchess, to welcome the large media team accompanying them and the thousands of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

"I want to acknowledge the work of the council but also the investment made by Te Arawa."

She said it was hard to know what the full economic impact might be.

"We'll be working with Tourism New Zealand to monitor, people want to know exactly what the economic impact is, it's about monitoring the reach over the next few weeks and I look forward to reporting on that."

A spokeswoman at Rotorua's i-Site said that while it was quiet at both sites yesterday leading up to and during the public meet and greet, the phones had been much busier over the last few weeks.

"Both local and domestic visitors had been calling to ask about parking and good viewing spots for the visit."

Rotorua police area commander Anaru Pewhairangi said people were in good spirits and well behaved.

"All our police staff thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the day to help highlight just how special our place and our home is."