From celebrating different countries and cultures to forest adventures, this year's Rotorua Children's Weekend is shaping up to be a fantastic family time.

There are two days of free events planned for Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15.

The event, hosted by Rotorua Lakes Council together with various local organisations and community groups, begins next Saturday with a range of activities taking place around central Rotorua between 10am and 3pm.

Children of all ages can experience diverse cultures from around the world and be in to win prizes by collecting stamps for their Children's Weekend "passports".


The passports can be picked up from several venues on the day and passport holders will receive a stamp for every country they visit.

Children will 'travel' from India to Russia, from Saudi Arabia to Tonga, stopping off in China and Aotearoa on the trip.

Kids with more than three stamps in their passport will go into a draw to win a prize pool valued at more than $5000, including passes and vouchers from a range of Rotorua attractions alongside art and book packs.

Multicultural Rotorua president Margriet Theron says the Around the World activities provides opportunities for children to meet with people from these countries and have first-hand experiences.

Rotorua Indian Association and residents celebrate Indian culture during a previous Children's Weekend. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua Indian Association and residents celebrate Indian culture during a previous Children's Weekend. Photo / Supplied

It also gives the members of the cultural groups an opportunity to celebrate their culture and their way of life with the families of Rotorua.

"It's a win-win on both sides."

She says the day has never had a Saudi Arabian group participate before and that a few Saudi Arabian families and students are coming together to share their culture with the community.

The fun will continue next Sunday from 1.30pm to 4.30pm at the Redwoods Children's Day in the Redwood Forest with nature-based activities such as forest games, storytelling, log dig, bucket fun, soundscapes, clay, paint, drumming, hut building and a young artists alfresco art exhibition.


This year has some new surprise activities, including a full line-up of young performers on the main stage.

Redwoods Children's Day organiser Jill Walker says the line-up of young performers will include kapa haka, singers and bands, dancers, drama, poi and ukulele.

There will be Taiko Japanese drumming too.

She encourages people to go along and celebrate being in the natural environment of the Redwoods, as well as have a lovely time doing all the activities geared for children and their families to do together.

"It's a day for them to just play, try out new things, invent and explore. It's magical - it always has been and will continue to be.

"The biggest message we really want is for people to keep their phones in their pockets, unless taking an occasional photo."


This will be Jill's last year of organising the Redwoods Children's Day.

She says this has been a highlight event for her each year, but she is not sad about leaving an organisational role because she knows there are a lot of people who will continue to move the event forward in the future.

She thanked all the people involved in making this day happen.

The Redwoods Children's Day was bustling and full of wonders in 2018. Photo / File
The Redwoods Children's Day was bustling and full of wonders in 2018. Photo / File

The City Ride bus (route 3) takes people directly to the end of Long Mile Rd from where people can wander through the Mokopuna Track to the clearing behind the Redwoods iSite where the activities will be held.

Families are encouraged to bring along a picnic and share laughs with the little people in their lives and treasure the time spent together.

Last year the weekend of celebrations was a huge success with nearly 5000 people attending, and it is this success that has attracted several new organisations and community groups to take part in the event.


This year you can also get a stamp on your passport at the Redwoods Children's Day.

Both days of events will be on, rain or shine. For more information go to

Day One (Saturday 14 March) - Around the World venues
■ Rotorua Indian Association – Celebrate India. Learn traditional dances and Indian crafts. Location: Jean Batten Square, Haupapa St.
■ Multicultural Rotorua – Celebrate Saudi Arabia. Have your photo with Princess Jasmine and Aladdin and write your name in Arabic. Location: Te Rūnanga Tea House, Government Gardens.
■ Rotorua Russian Community – Celebrate Russia. Practice your snowball throwing (with water balloons), make a tiara or crown to wear and play with Russian dolls. Location: Children's Art House, Government Gardens.
■ Rotorua Tongan Community – Celebrate Tonga. Learn Tongan songs and dances and paint a Tongan tapa. Location: The Arts Village lawn, Hinemaru St.
■ Rotorua Chinese Community Association and Rotorua Library – Celebrate China. Try Chinese calligraphy, word tag and dress up in traditional Chinese clothes. Location: Ground Floor, Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri.
■ Rotorua Aquatic Centre – Celebrate Aotearoa. Get a moko kauae or a tā moko, design your own tīpare (head band) and make your way through a NZ obstacle course. Gather three or more stamps on the passport during the day and kids swim for free (must be accompanied by adult). Location: Rotorua Aquatic Centre, Tarewa Rd.