The Government Gardens were transformed last night as they came alive with lanterns.

Luminite is the final big event in Fire & Ice - Rotorua Winter Festival with organisers saving the best for last. Hundreds of paper lanterns and hundreds more tealights lit up the gardens, along with an illuminated hot air balloon. There was entertainment ranging from a photobooth, face-painting, live music and giant versions of games such as Scrabble.

Hunting for their lanterns were Debbie Leigh from Owhata with her three grand-daughters. "We made lanterns on Thursday as a school holiday activity," she said. "I think it's a great thing for Rotorua. It's nice to have stuff for the kids which doesn't cost a lot of money. I would have paid $10 to make one but it was only $2 because it was subsidised.

"We went to the movie last week and got saturated but we still stayed there. We had such a good time at the Glo Festival at New Year - this is great family stuff."


She said they would definitely be back next year, which is good news for the organisers already planning on how to make it better.

"The team were talking about what we could do next year as we were setting up," said organiser Kylie Lang. "We'll definitely be going bigger. We've had more people than last year and the numbers are definitely in the thousands. It's hard to tell because it's so spread out."

She said a personal highlight had been the lanterns. "They all look stunning and the hot air balloon is looking incredible. I'm glad so many have come."

Luminite finished with a fireworks display at 9pm.

For more photos see Monday's Rotorua Daily Post.

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