I've always felt grateful and lucky to have grown up in Rotorua.
Where the sulphuric smell, so acrid and offensive to our visitors, becomes unnoticeable.
Where the sights and sounds of the bubbling mud pools and exploding geysers are a part of everyday life.
Where Māori culture is part the fabric of the city and saying "kia ora" to someone is the same as "how ya going?"
Wherever I go, I always find comfort in returning home.
Showing someone around, who is new to the city, always helped me see Rotorua with fresh eyes.
Which is why, during lockdown, looking up to Mt Ngongotaha, filled me with sadness.
The visitors, whose screams I used to hear as they were launched by the Skyswing resounded all the way down the foot of the mountain where I live, had disappeared.
The gondolas were still and the mountain was silent.
Happily, signs of life have returned recently.
And it heartens me to hear that our famous tourist attractions, normally teeming with life, are fighting to keep some semblance of their previous selves in new, and hopefully successful, incarnations.
We reported last week Te Puia was set to reopen but with some crucial changes.
It is dropping its price and reinventing the experience to appeal to a domestic market as well as employing 14 extra staff members — taking the site's total staff to 44. It will open four days a week for reduced hours.
"International visitors were our lifeline. That was the tap and the tap turned off but we have developed something that I think people will really like. If we are humble with our storytelling with a bit of humour, I think Kiwis will love it," Te Puia boss Tim Cossar says.
He's not expecting international visitors to return until at least September next year, so our support is vital if we are to preserve these natural taonga.
I think we as residents should support our local attractions — bring your out-of-town visitors and look at our wonderful city through their eyes.