The Zorb journey has come full circle with the original inventor of the downhill ball roll idea buying back the famous tourist attraction and merging it with his OGO business.

Zorb Rotorua, that has been described as the world's first zorb company, will officially be closed from tomorrow, as OGO takes over the zorbing market here in Rotorua.

The agreement between Zorb and the inventor of downhill ball rolling Andrew Akers and his brother David Akers of OGO went unconditional on Tuesday.

The Rotorua Daily Post asked the OGO owners whether there would be any job losses as a result of the Zorb closure, however, they were unable to comment.


In order to absorb the demand that would follow from two businesses becoming one, Andrew Akers said they had invested heavily into OGO Rotorua by opening two new tracks and implementing the automated return system for the balls.

"This has given us plenty of capacity to take on more customers."

He said he was excited about the fact he and David will be reunited with the brand they created.

"In a strange way, the Zorb brand has always remained with me and despite being in competition since we left the business and launched OGO, I've always been attached to what we created all those years ago."

The original idea for the invention by Akers and Dwane van der Sluis came from wanting to walk on water.

The double skinned inflatable sphere was created with no previous experience or knowledge - they used plastic and glue, starting from scratch to continually improve the ball.

However, the problem was the finished sphere couldn't be controlled on water, so they started rolling people down hills instead.

The sphere was initially called The Orb, then NZorb, finally settling on "Zorb", with trading beginning in December 1995. Bringing on board two investors, Zorb Limited was created, and the team commercialised downhill ball rolling, later setting up their own franchise network around the globe.


Unhappy with the direction of the company once professional investors became involved, Andrew and David left Zorb in April 2006.

In 2010, the brothers set up their OGO downhill ball rolling operation in Rotorua on the 17-acre original ball rolling site owned by local iwi Ngāti Whakaue.

Akers said there had been talk over the past five years with Zorb's current owners about potentially purchasing the business and an agreement was finally reached this year.

He said the addition of Zorb to OGO would allow the business to reinvest further in the infrastructure of the OGO site, enhance the customer experience and cement the site as the premier ball-rolling park in the world.

All pre-paid Zorb tickets can be redeemed at OGO.