Rotorua's tongue in cheek nickname Rotovegas has been immortalised in all of its neon glory by the team at Skyline Rotorua.

But, not everyone is excited by the replica "Welcome to Fabulous Rotovegas" sign that now sits in the carpark of the Fairy Springs Rd tourist attraction.

The road is the main route into Rotorua from the north.

Skyline Rotorua general manager Bruce Thomasen said he knew the sign could cause some debate around town but it was all to do with a new corporate offering the business was about to launch.


He said the sign was "loud and proud" and would create some unique photo opportunities for locals and visitors.

"Many Kiwis already know Rotorua as Rotovegas.

"Our city has so many cultural and adventure activities and, due to its many motels and neons, it bears a fanciful resemblance to Las Vegas. "

The sign also signals the launch of Skyline's new Rotovegas theme for corporate functions, which will turn Skyline's facility into a replica Las Vegas for a night full of neon lights, busking, cabaret shows, casino games, luge rides and food.

"The main emphasis will be on fun - [it] provides Rotorua with something different and new.

"And, Las Vegas doesn't have a luge," Mr Thomasen said.

However, readers' comments on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page were predominantly negative about the new sign.

"No, no and no. "


"So much for kiwi innovation, can't even invent our own sign. Lame!"

"I don't mind people calling Rotorua Rotovegas but a sign?

"No, no, no. That's taking the joke too far."

"Totally a bad idea. I was in the real Las Vegas in July and that place is unique.

"It is a total class act and something that no other city in the world can emulate or should ever try to emulate."

Author and broadcaster Max Cryer's The Godzone Dictionary of Favourite New Zealand Words and Phrases states Rotovegas is "an amusing and affectionate nickname for Rotorua, combining its name with Las Vegas, as a none-too-subtle acknowledgement of the tourist and Maori entertainment industry that makes up a major part of the local economy."

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Roger Gordon congratulated Skyline for "thinking outside the square".

"We always need to think of new and novel ways to promote our activities and attractions.

"There will be heaps of fun in a Casino Las Vegas themed event and I am sure that it will attract a good response from the corporate sector.

"I haven't seen the sign at night but I'm sure it will create quite an impact on those arriving in Rotorua," Mr Gordon said.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said people should not get too politically correct about the name.

"We all know and love our city and district's real and historic name Rotorua.

"However, we don't want to get too PC over these things.

"In this instance, for an exciting fun experience like Skyline provides, the alternative name sort of fits," she said.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said many visitors to the city used the name Rotovegas to describe the place as a fun and vibrant place to visit.

"While I appreciate some local people might be less keen on the name, if Skyline are using it to promote Rotorua as an attractive, family friendly location with some of New Zealand's best tourist attractions then it probably reinforces the growing perception of Rotorua as a world leading visitor destination," he said.