It is only a single word change - replacing the word 'District' with 'Lakes' - but it is an important and symbolic change all the same.

That is Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick's view of Rotorua District Council's decision to amend its operating name and become Rotorua Lakes Council.

"We're a very different council today than the council of past years, and a brand refresh will reflect that. We have a new team, a new direction and a new vision for the future, so it's the right time to update our brand to better represent who we are now."

The decision to adopt the amended name was made at a council meeting last night. It follows recent development of the 'Rotorua 2030' strategic direction for the district, and a major restructuring of the political and operating arms of the council.

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While the official name remains unchanged, the Rotorua Lakes Council brand will be rolled out over a period of time as items, such as letterheads and vehicle signage, come up for replacement.

"By staging the roll-out and using in-house design resources as much as possible, implementation costs can be minimised and will likely be kept under $10,000," Mrs Chadwick said.

"At present the name and branding are complex and confusing, especially the mixed messages with use of 'Destination Rotorua' in our current logo and several graphic elements. The change means we can reassign the name Destination Rotorua for use by our tourism marketing, events, venues and i-SITE business unit.

"Introducing the word 'lakes' into our council title, proudly celebrates our district's key natural features - features that impact on our lifestyle and set us apart from others. We have 18 lakes - more than any district in the country. We are the country's lakes capital and we want people to know that.

"Using the word 'lakes' also gives acknowledgement to our Te Arawa partners to whom Rotorua's lakes are historic taonga - priceless treasures."

Mrs Chadwick said previous research undertaken as part of developing the Famously Rotorua marketing campaign had shown concepts such as 'lakes,' 'beautiful' and 'outdoors' were key attributes that local residents associated with Rotorua.

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The council will be adopting a more simplified and versatile logo which will be used alongside a re-worked version of the traditional takarangi graphic device, in various branding executions.

"I'm pleased we're retaining the takarangi symbol as part of the wider branding, and I really like the uncluttered, contemporary look of the updated logo. Its simplicity means it will be easier to apply and should stand the test of time."

The new branding will incorporate three colour formats for various uses. The colours are: blue to represent the district's lakes and waterways; green to represent the land, forests and parks; and orange to acknowledge the volcanic and geothermal elements.