People are encouraged to celebrate and learn more about Rotorua heritage and the Māori culture while getting active on two wheels.

Three free Heritage Rides are being held as part of the Rotorua Bike Festival.

A Lakefront Heritage Ride is being held on Tuesday October 23 and Thursday October 25, 5.30pm to 7pm, starting at the Soundshell.

It is an easy ride, suitable for children of all ages, exploring sites of significance around the Ohinemutu and Lakefront area. Tuesday's ride is in English and Thursday's is in te reo Māori.


There will also be a Forest Heritage Ride on Wednesday October 24 exploring sites of significance around the Waipa/Whakarewarewa Forest area.

It will run from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, starting at Waipa Carpark, and is a grade two to three ride.

Te Papa Tākaro O Te Arawa chief executive Paora Te Hurihanganui says these rides came about when the Rotorua Bike Festival organisers approached their organisation wanting to engage more Māori in biking.

He says they considered what would make Māori want to engage or get involved in biking, and came up with the heritage rides to share information about sites of significance and promote te reo Māori.

"I think heritage events like these are important because they show some of the unique features of our city and its history, and is promotion of the culture and how Te Arawa see the world."

Paora says it is important to get people active, and Rotorua has a huge natural resource with its environment.

"I think any opportunity to engage with our local environment is really important, it's one of the crown jewels of our city... I think that is something we should showcase and something special about our area."

He says these rides are also a unique opportunity to promote te reo Māori and support Rotorua as a bilingual city.


"There's a wealth of information I believe needs to be shared - ancestry, history, relationships - that have progressed over time."

Paora says these heritage rides are the organisation's first attempt to partner with the Rotorua Bike Festival and they are looking forward to it.

"It's a doorway to many possibilities in the future."