Internationally renowned Kiwi band Six60 has announced New Zealand's first stadium tour and the first stop is in Rotorua.
The band will head to Rotorua for the first time and, in doing so, will kick off their latest tour. They will play at Rotorua International Stadium with around 20,000 tickets to go live in less than two weeks.
It will be the first leg of the six-stop stadium tour and the first time embarked on by an artist in the country. The likes of Ed Sheeran and other artists have toured stadiums in New Zealand before but never before in as many separate cities or towns.
The Six60 Saturdays tour has grown exponentially since it began in 2019 playing to 50,000 fans at Auckland's Western Springs Stadium.
Earlier this year, the band played six shows throughout New Zealand at two stadiums and four green fields, selling over 175,000 tickets.
Marlon Gerbes, one of the band's members, was excited to visit the Rotorua.
Gerbes remembers his first concert in Auckland, a five-hour drive from his hometown in Napier, a similar size to Rotorua.
"I didn't go until my first big show until my early 20s ... I went to the Big Day Out in Auckland and that was like the biggest thing I'd ever been to in my life at that point."
Bringing such a big event to Rotorua has Gerbes excited.
"Growing up in a small town, you don't really get to see shows like stadium shows unless you travel to Auckland or Wellington."
Stadium shows were quite rare in New Zealand, he said, which is what made this tour so special.
The six-stop tour will kick off in Rotorua on March 5 and be held every Saturday until the tour ends in Auckland.
"To bring that to a place like Rotorua, I just can't wait to see all the youngsters and the people who haven't been to a stadium show," he said.
"It's such a unique experience; with the grandstands and how everyone can see everyone, the sound of everyone's voices ... the sound of us playing is all compact."
The band has been working with international production and lighting teams to bring something new for fans.
"It's engaging all your senses. You can't help but embrace the moment and just be in it. It's almost like a dream," he said. "We just want to bring back some normalcy."
As a band, they go to the regions they play in earlier to explore the area and people and are planning on checking some of the must-dos in town.
"We really like to take in the place that we're going to. We're at that stage in our lives where we're really grateful for where we are and what we're doing," Gerbes said.
The band had previously ticked off whitewater rafting at Okere Falls and were keen to hear from locals where they should go.
"We kind of take for granted how amazing New Zealand is - the people, the culture, the scenery, the food, everything."
Gerbes said they would likely have a game of golf while in Rotorua - a pre-show ritual that started two years ago which helped to clear the head.
Last Friday was the 10-year anniversary release of SIX60's debut Gold album.
Fans can expect a special celebration of this album alongside their brand-new music. Their latest certified Gold single, Pepeha, was their first bi-lingual song that debuted at number one on the NZ Singles Chart.
The band are all part-Māori but did not grow up with the language or culture, Gerbes said.
Before Pepeha, the band translated Don't Forget Your Roots into Māori for Waiata Anthems, guided by Dame Hinewehi Mohi.
The members became good friends with Mohi who Gerbes said nurtured the band into a "yearning to know our culture and understand where we're from".
They stayed in Hawkes Bay with her, writing songs, drinking wine and eating good kai.
"In that experience, we came up with the beginnings of Pepeha. It's really a personal thing ... the seed of it was our way of learning about our pepeha."
He said the goal of their music was to always transcend any categories and have it all "feeling-based".
"That's what we like about music, it makes you feel a particular way and you get sucked into that feeling and you forget about everything, all the small things in life and just go along with the song."
After Rotorua, the band will head to Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium followed by Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. The tour then heads to Wellington's Sky Stadium followed by the first live concert at Napier's McLean Park before wrapping up at Auckland's Eden Park.
In a statement, the band said they were "absolutely stoked" to bring the stadium tour.
"For us, we constantly want to better ourselves and raise the bar on what we have already done.
"To be playing six stadium shows on this tour is huge. It's a massive achievement for us, but we see it as a challenge to international acts too."
They said there was more to a New Zealand tour than just playing a few cities.
"We live in the best country in the world and we'd love to see more acts play shows of this scale all around the motu."
The band have just completed their US tour having just played two headline shows in Los Angeles and New York and recording a new album, before their first international tour across Europe since 2019.
Tickets to the general public will go on sale on November 8 at midday.
SIX60 SaturdaysThe Stadium Tour 2022
Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Sky Stadium, Wellington
McLean Park, Napier
Eden Park, Auckland
Limited presale tickets are available through the Sidehustle app on Friday, October 29, from 12pm to 3pm, or until the allocation is exhausted.
General public tickets will be live from November 8 from 12pm through Ticketmaster.co.nz.