This Herald Travel series focuses on Māori tourism businesses around the country, showcasing who they are, what they do, and what they have to offer Kiwi travellers.
Sam Sutton:Rotorua Rafting
Why should Kiwis choose to do one of your tours?
Rotorua Rafting set out on the mission to provide the best visitor experience on the planet while showcasing our backyard - the Ōkere Awa known as the Kaituna, which boasts the world's highest commercially rated waterfall.
What can they expect on a tour/activity/experience with you?
You can expect to be greeted and entertained by our legendary kaimahi (guides), who will keep you laughing and screaming as you drop over big waterfalls, swim rapids and experience the closest thing to waterboarding as we surf big waves, making sure you have the best experience every single time. All of this takes two hours, and it will be a memory you will hold close for the rest of your life.
How do your tours celebrate te ao Māori?
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The Kaituna and Ōkere rivers were vital for Te Arawa migration inland. It has served manawhenua as a source of kai and wellbeing for centuries, and now we share similar experiences where the awa (river) provides life and wellbeing for us 400 years on, as it did for our tupuna (ancestors).
What do you love most about your job?
The highlight for us is providing life memories for people. When clients say this is the best thing they have ever done in their life, it is something words can't describe regarding job satisfaction. There aren't many jobs where this can be done and something that keeps us going day after day by striving to provide this experience for all.
What are some of your other favourite things to see and do within your local region?
I have personally searched the globe to find my paradise, and it turns out it was where I grew up all along. Ōkere Falls offers a great community, mixed with beautiful Lake Rotoiti and secluded hot pools only accessible by boat or floatplane. Alternatively, drive 20 minutes over to Maketū, where the Kaituna River meets the ocean and have a surf followed by some fish and chips, or head 20 minutes into Rotorua and experience world-class mountain biking. Come and check out our soon-to-launch Rotorua Zipline, where you will be flying over waterfalls.