Rotorua

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Rotorua
Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe (Māori)
Rotorua museum.jpg
00 2009 03 20 1564 Rotorua - i-Site (Informationszentrum).jpg
Government Gardens in Rotorua 01.jpg
City of Rotorua.jpg
00 1555 Pohutu Geyser in Whakarewarewa (Whaka), New Zealand.jpg
Rotorua Coat of Arms.jpg
Nickname(s): 
Sulphur City, [1] Roto-Vegas [2]
Motto: 
Tātau tātau [3]
New Zealand (location map).svg
Disc Plain red.svg
Rotorua
Coordinates: 38°08′16″S176°15′05″E / 38.13778°S 176.25139°E / -38.13778; 176.25139
Country New Zealand
Region Bay of Plenty
Territorial authority Rotorua Lakes Council
Settled by Māoric. 1350
Foundedc. 1350
Borough status1922
City status1962
City status revoked1989
Electorate Rotorua
Government
   Mayor Tania Tapsell
Area
  Territorial2,614.9 km2 (1,009.6 sq mi)
  Urban
48.04 km2 (18.55 sq mi)
  Metro
89.28 km2 (34.47 sq mi)
Elevation
280 m (920 ft)
Population
 (June 2023) [4]
  Territorial78,200
  Density30/km2 (77/sq mi)
   Urban
58,900
  Urban density1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
   Metro
58,900
  Metro density660/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Demonym Rotoruan
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Postcode(s)
3010, 3015
Area code 07
Local iwi Ngāti Whakaue, Te Arawa
Website www.rotorualakescouncil.nz

Rotorua (Māori:  [ˌɾɔtɔˈɾʉa] [5] ) is a city in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is sited on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua, from which it takes its name. It is the seat of the Rotorua Lakes District, a territorial authority encompassing Rotorua and several other nearby towns. It has an estimated resident population of 58,900, making it the country's 13th largest urban area, and the Bay of Plenty's second-largest urban area behind Tauranga.

Contents

Māori first settled in Rotorua in the 14th century, and a thriving was established at Ohinemutu by the people who would become Ngāti Whakaue. The city became closely associated with conflict during the Musket Wars of the 1820s. Ohinemutu was invaded by a Ngāpuhi-led coalition in 1823, commanded by Hongi Hika and Pōmare I. In the 19th century early European settlers had an interest in developing Rotorua, due to its unique geothermal activity in Rotorua and its surrounding area. [6] Then, efforts by Māori and Europeans alike to establish Rotorua as a spa town led to a 99-year lease of land from Ngāti Whakaue to the Government. The city first became a major site of tourism due to the Rotorua's close proximity to the Pink and White Terraces, until they were destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Rotorua was elevated to borough status in 1922 and to city status 40 years later.

Rotorua is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists; the tourism industry is by far the largest industry in the district. It is known for its geothermal activity and Māori cultural tourism, and features geysers – notably the Pōhutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa – and hot mud pools. This thermal activity is sourced to the Rotorua Caldera, in which the town lies.

Toponymy

The name Rotorua comes from the Māori language, where the full name for the city and lake is Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe. [7] Roto means 'lake' and rua means 'two' or in this case, 'second' – Rotorua thus meaning 'Second lake'. Kahumatamomoe was the uncle of the Māori chief Ihenga, the ancestral explorer of the Te Arawa. [8] It was the second major lake the chief discovered, and he dedicated it to his uncle. It is the largest of a multitude of lakes found to the northeast, all connected with the Rotorua Caldera and nearby Mount Tarawera. The name can also mean the equally appropriate 'Crater lake'. [8]

A common nickname for Rotorua is "Sulphur City" due to the hydrogen sulphide emissions, which gives the city a smell similar to "rotten eggs", [1] as well as "Rotten-rua" combining its legitimate name and the rotten smell prevalent. [9] Another common nickname is "Roto-Vegas", likening the city's own strip of road flanked by businesses and restaurants to that of Las Vegas. [10]

History

The area was initially settled by Māori of the Te Arawa Iwi in the 14th century, and a thriving was built at Ohinemutu by the shores of Lake Rotorua. According to Te Arawa folklore, the city's bountiful geothermal springs had resulted from a plea by Ngātoro-i-rangi, an ancestral tohunga, for the gods to send fire-bearing spirits from Hawaiki, the semi-mythological Māori homeland. The Te Arawa Māori who lived at Ohinemutu eventually began to call themselves Ngāti Whakaue, after their ancestor Whakaue Kaipapa. [11]

Rotorua was a site of heavy conflict during the Musket Wars. During the early 1820s, the large Northern iwi Ngāpuhi had begun expanding outwards further south, driving Ngāti Paoa and their chief Te Hīnaki from modern-day South Auckland, and launched periodic raids into the Bay of Plenty. [12] A military expedition into the Bay of Plenty by a combined Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Maru nō Hauraki force in 1818 had set the stage for further raids in the modern Rotorua area. Ngāpuhi and its allies launched an ambitious invasion of the Waikato in 1822, with a battalion led by junior chief Te Pae-o-te-Rangi were ambushed and slaughtered by Ngāti Whakaue for trespassing into Rotorua. This was apparently at the insistence of Te Rauparaha; under Māori customary law the attack demanded utu. Ngāpuhi commander Hongi Hika convened with his fellow chiefs Pomare I and Te Wera Hauraki to propose war, and thus in February 1823 a Ngāpuhi-led coalition invaded Rotorua. [13] :242 The force, which also included Ngāti Whātua and some Waikato Tainui, landed at Tauranga and headed up the Pongakawa valley to attack Mokoia Island [14] [15] [16] Te Arawa fell back after the loss of 170 men and were defeated by Ngāpuhi, [17] and utu was satisfied. [12]

The first European in the area was probably Phillip Tapsell who was trading from the Bay of Plenty coast at Maketu from 1828. He later married into Te Arawa and became highly regarded by them. [18] Missionaries Henry Williams and Thomas Chapman visited in 1831 [8] and Chapman and his wife established a mission at Te Koutu in 1835. [19] This was abandoned within a year, but Chapman returned in 1838 and established a second mission at Mokoia Island. [8] [19]

The lakeshore was a prominent site of skirmishes during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. William Fox advocated for turning the Rotorua region into a national park, inspired by the Yellowstone in the United States. [20] Conversely, the Te Arawa community suggested the establishment of a township centred around Rotorua's thermal springs, with the intent of developing a Polynesian Spa and health resort where tourists could indulge in hot pools. [20] In 1880, instead of selling the land, the Ngāti Whakaue people leased 50 acres to the Crown under the Fenton Agreement, [21] [22] granting the government the authority to offer 99-year leases on their behalf. [20] Revenues from leases helped fund Rotorua Boys' High School, and increased significantly upon the expiry of the 99-year leases. [23] The eponymous Fenton Street in the modern city’s CBD bears the judge’s name. [24] Nevertheless, the enactment of the Thermal Springs District Act in 1881 gave the government exclusive rights to both purchase and lease lands containing hot springs, lakes, or river, and as a result, by the turn of the century, nearly half of the Rotorua blocks were sold. [20] In 1993, the Crown settled a Treaty of Waitangi claim with the Ngāti Whakaue people to honour their broken contract, by agreeing to return the gifted lands that were no longer required for their original use. [25]

The town was connected to Auckland with the opening of the Rotorua Branch railway and commencement of the Rotorua Express train in 1894, resulting in the rapid growth of the town and tourism from this time forward. Guidebooks about the 'Land of Boiling Water' also proliferated. [20] During the 1880s, tourists, especially from Australia, started visiting Rotorua to witness its natural marvels like the Pink and White Terraces until these were destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1886. [20] Rotorua was established as a borough in 1922, elected its first mayor in 1923, and declared a city in 1962 before becoming a district in 1979. [26]

Geography

Setting

The city of Rotorua and the adjacent Lake Rotorua are located within the Rotorua Caldera that was formed in a major volcanic eruption approximately 240,000 years ago. The caldera is the source of the geothermal activity that is a key feature of the city and surrounding region. [27] [28]

Climate

The Rotorua region enjoys a mild temperate climate (Cfb). Rotorua is situated inland from the coast and is sheltered by high country to the south and east of the city, resulting in less wind than many other places in New Zealand. During the winter months, June – August, temperatures can drop below 0 °C. Frost is common in Rotorua during its winter months, with an average of 57 ground frosts annually, and 20 nights per year below 0 °C. Snowfall in Rotorua is rare, and since the 1970s has only been recorded twice. On 15 August 2011 and 13 July 2017, snowflakes fell in the town centre, and during the July 2017 snowfall, snow accumulated in the nearby Mamaku ranges and in the outer reaches of the district, where snowfall occurs on average once every three years.

Climate data for Rotorua (1981–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Mean daily maximum °C (°F)22.8
(73.0)
22.9
(73.2)
20.9
(69.6)
18.0
(64.4)
15.1
(59.2)
12.6
(54.7)
12.0
(53.6)
12.8
(55.0)
14.6
(58.3)
16.4
(61.5)
18.6
(65.5)
20.8
(69.4)
17.3
(63.1)
Daily mean °C (°F)17.7
(63.9)
17.9
(64.2)
16.0
(60.8)
13.3
(55.9)
10.7
(51.3)
8.5
(47.3)
7.8
(46.0)
8.4
(47.1)
10.2
(50.4)
12.0
(53.6)
13.9
(57.0)
16.2
(61.2)
12.7
(54.9)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F)12.6
(54.7)
13.0
(55.4)
11.1
(52.0)
8.5
(47.3)
6.3
(43.3)
4.3
(39.7)
3.5
(38.3)
4.1
(39.4)
5.8
(42.4)
7.6
(45.7)
9.2
(48.6)
11.5
(52.7)
8.1
(46.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches)92.7
(3.65)
93.9
(3.70)
99.2
(3.91)
107.2
(4.22)
116.9
(4.60)
136.1
(5.36)
134.5
(5.30)
131.4
(5.17)
109.3
(4.30)
112.3
(4.42)
93.8
(3.69)
114.2
(4.50)
1,341.8
(52.83)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)8.27.48.58.29.511.211.011.611.310.99.410.0117.0
Average relative humidity (%)78.881.481.583.487.187.587.385.981.679.777.278.982.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 242.9205.9199.7170.5145.1119.1130.7152.1155.1190.8200.1215.82,127.8
Source: NIWA Climate Data [29]

Lakes

The Rotorua region has 17 lakes, known collectively as the Lakes of Rotorua. Fishing, waterskiing, swimming and other water activities are popular in summer. Several of the lakes are stocked for sports fishing with trout from the Fish and Game New Zealand hatchery at Ngongotahā. The lakes are also used for event venues; Rotorua hosted the 2007 World Waterski Championships and Lake Rotorua was the venue for the World Blind Sailing Championships in March 2009. [30] Lake Rotorua is also used as a departure and landing point for float planes.

Suburbs

Inner suburbs
Outer suburbs

Demography

The Rotorua urban area, as defined by Statistics New Zealand, covers 48.04 km2 (18.55 sq mi) and incorporates 26 statistical areas. [31] It has an estimated population of 58,900 as of June 2023. [4]

The Rotorua urban area had a usual resident population of 54,204 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 5,289 people (10.8%) since the 2013 census. There were 26,211 males and 27,993 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.936 males per female. Of the total population, 12,366 people (22.8%) were aged up to 15 years, 11,052 (20.4%) were 15 to 29, 22,980 (42.4%) were 30 to 64, and 7,809 (14.4%) were 65 or older. [32]

In terms of ethnicity, 59.2% were European/Pākehā, 42.3% were Māori, 6.2% were Pacific peoples, 11.5% were Asian, and 1.5% were other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities). [32] Rotorua has the highest proportion of Māori of any city in New Zealand. [33]

Government

Local

In October 2013, Steve Chadwick was elected Mayor of Rotorua and was re-elected in the 2016 mayoral election and the 2019 mayoral election. She previously served as the Member of Parliament for Rotorua between 1999 and 2008, and served as a Cabinet Minister in the Fifth Labour Government. [34]

In 2022, Tania Tapsell was elected as the Mayor of Rotorua. She is the first woman of Māori descent to hold the role. [35]

National

Rotorua is covered by the Rotorua electorate for the general roll and the Waiariki electorate for the Māori roll. [36]

Economy

In 2022, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Rotorua District was $4,241m, representing 1.2% of New Zealand's total GDP. The sector with the largest contribution to the Rotorua District GDP was high value services (professional, managerial, as well as scientific and technical occupations), at 20%. This is less than the 26.7% contribution that high value services make to the national economy. The next highest contribution to the district GDP was from goods-producing industries representing 17.8% in the district GDP, versus 18.5% in the national economy. Primary industries, agriculture and forestry, contributed 10.2%, compared with 5.8% in the national economy. [37]

As a major visitor destination, Rotorua District has a much higher proportion of people in employed in accommodation (3.3%) than the national average (1.1%). Tourism contributed $231 million (5.5%) to the district GDP, compared with 2.8% nationally. The four largest industries in the district, based on employment, were hospitals, accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and primary education. [38]

Geothermal attractions

Mud pool, Tikitere ("Hell's Gate"), Rotorua. Tikitere Mud Pool n.jpg
Mud pool, Tikitere ("Hell's Gate"), Rotorua.
The Prince of Wales Feathers thermal spring erupting Rotorua PoW.jpg
The Prince of Wales Feathers thermal spring erupting

Known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800s, many of Rotorua's buildings reflect this history. Government Gardens, close to the lake-shore at the eastern edge of the town, include the Rotorua Museum of Art and History housed in the large Tudor-style bath house building, and the Art Deco style Blue Baths, noted for its embrace of mixed sex bathing in the 1930s. As of October 2023, both buildings are closed because of earthquake strength concerns. [39] [40]

There are many geothermal attractions in the Rotorua area, including: [41]

The especially pungent smell in the central-east 'Te Ngae' area is due to the dense sulphur deposits located next to the southern boundary of the Government Gardens, in the area known as 'Sulphur Point'.

Mountain biking

Another of Rotorua's attractions is mountain biking. Rotorua was listed as one of the Top 6 mountain biking destinations globally by the International Mountain Biking Association in 2015, when they awarded Rotorua the gold level ride centre status. [47] The Whakarewarewa forest includes over 150 km of mountain bike trails [48] and in August 2006 was a host of the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships. [49] Each year, from 2015–present, Rotorua has hosted a round of the Crankworx World Tour. [50]

Other attractions

The Rotorua Pistol club is among the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and hosted the 2013 Australasian IPSC Handgun Championship. [51]

The Kaituna River, 15 minutes drive northeast of the CBD, provides class 5 whitewater kayaking and rafting through a spectacular tree lined gorge. [52]

Another visitor attraction in the Ngongotahā area is the Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre. It is a captive breeding facility and visitor centre located in the Ngongotahā Valley. Wingspan undertakes conservation, education and research activities related to birds of prey found in New Zealand, and provides demonstrations of falconry. [53]

Rotorua is known for its Māori cultural tourism. [54]

The Rotorua Museum of Art and History Rotorua Museum (897130257).jpg
The Rotorua Museum of Art and History
Pictured as a bath house in the early 20th century New Zealand before 1913.jpg
Pictured as a bath house in the early 20th century
Hot springs present in much of Rotorua RotoruaHotSpringNZ.jpg
Hot springs present in much of Rotorua
Te Papaiouru Marae in Ohinemutu, January 2001 2001-01 Rotorua.jpg
Te Papaiouru Marae in Ohinemutu, January 2001
The historic Ohinemutu Church... NZL-rotorua-ohinemutu-kirche.jpg
The historic Ohinemutu Church...
...as viewed from across the water in early spring. Saint Faith's Anglican Church.jpg
...as viewed from across the water in early spring.
Beside Lake Rotorua 00 2009 03 20 1526 Lake Rotorua - Neuseeland.jpg
Beside Lake Rotorua
The Government Gardens Government Gardens, Rotorua 055.jpg
The Government Gardens
A panoramic view of Rotorua taken at the top of Mt Ngongotaha, December 2015 Skyline of Rotorua.jpeg
A panoramic view of Rotorua taken at the top of Mt Ngongotahā, December 2015

Transport

Road

Rotorua is served by state highways 5, 30, and 30A, and the Thermal Explorer Highway touring route, with state highways 33 and 36 terminating on the outskirts of the town.

State Highway 5, running concurrently with the Thermal Explorer Highway, is the main north–south route through Rotorua, bypassing the town centre to the west. North of the town at Ngongotahā, State Highway 36 splits off to provide a route to Tauranga via Pyes Pa, while State Highway 5 turns westward, connecting to State Highway 1 at Tīrau and providing the main route into Rotorua from Hamilton and Auckland. To the south, State Highway 5 provides the main route from Taupō, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, and Wellington.

State Highway 30 runs southwest to northeast through the town. It enters the town in the southwest (running concurrently with SH 5), before crossing the southern suburbs to the shore of Lake Rotorua east of the town centre. It then runs through the suburb of Te Ngae, before splitting off SH 33 to continue eastwards.

State Highway 30A runs northwest to southeast, connecting State Highways 5 and 30 with each other via the town centre.

Bus

Rotorua has a local bus service, [55] with 11 routes under the Baybus brand, serving the urban area, mostly at half-hourly intervals, [56] operated by Reesby Buses. [57] Bike racks were introduced in 2017 [58] and Bee Cards for fares on 27 July 2020. [59] Trial commuter services between Rotorua and Tauranga are running in each direction until the end of 2021. [60] [61] The city is also served by InterCity [62] and services to local tourist sites. [63]

History

Edwin Robertson, who died aged 74 in 1931, [64] started with pack horses in 1869 and ran coaches from 1873. [65] In 1902, the Tauranga route was sold and became Robertson & Co, [66] then, about 1903, Rotorua Motor Coaching Co. Ltd. [67] In 1904, Hot Lakes Transport, which ran trips to Taupō, [68] Waiotapu and all the lakes, [69] and Rotorua Motor Coaching added motor cars to their fleets of coaches. [70] In 1905 E. Robertson & Co moved from Ohinemutu to the new town, close to the new railway station, [65] which remained the main stop until InterCity moved to their stop from Hinemoa / Fenton Street [71] to the Tourism Office in 1995. [72] The last coach ran in 1919. [73] When Hot Lakes Transport's assets were sold in 1920, they had 10 coaches and 3 motor cars. [74] In September 1920, Rotorua Motor Transport Co. was formed and took over Hot Lakes Transport Co. and Rotorua Motor Coaching Co, [75] continuing with similar services. [76] In 1926, a consortium of local operators formed Rotorua Bus Co. [77] During 1922, Kusab's transport company became K Motors, [73] which was taken over by the railways in 1938. [78] Rotorua Motor Transport and Rotorua Bus Co followed in 1940 [79] and all became part of New Zealand Railways Road Services. [67]

Air

Rotorua Regional Airport is located 9 km (6 mi) northeast of the city centre, off State Highway 30. Air New Zealand provides daily turbo-prop flights between Rotorua and Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports. Previously Qantas also operated Boeing 737 aircraft from Christchurch, but upon their departure from domestic flights in New Zealand this was discontinued.[ citation needed ]

Scenic and chartered flights in both helicopters and float planes are operated by Volcanic Air, who are based on Rotorua's lake front.[ citation needed ]

From 2009 to 2015 there was also an international link, with direct Sydney to Rotorua flights. [80]

Rail

Rotorua is connected to the rail network by the Rotorua Branch line from Putāruru. Until 2001, passenger trains ran from Auckland to Rotorua via Hamilton daily using Silver Fern railcars, terminating north of the town centre at Koutu (the original station on Amohau Street was closed and relocated to Koutu in 1989). However, owing to poor advertising of the service and the location of the station being a 15-minute walk from the town centre in an industrial area, passenger services stopped in October 2001. Freight services on the line declined over the decades until the nightly freight service stopped in 2000, largely due to a continual move of freight and passengers onto road transport using ever-improving highways in the region. The line is currently disused.

Education

Tertiary

Rotorua is home to the central campus of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, which provides a range of certificates, diplomas and a limited number of degree-level programmes. The largest programmes on offer are Te Reo Māori (Māori language), nursing, forestry, business, computing, tourism and hospitality. As of June 2022, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology is a business division of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. [81]

Secondary

Rotorua has five secondary schools:

Students can also attend Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Techbnology, a Māori- and English-medium special character school from years 1–10. [87] It currently has around 100 students. [88] Students here need to attend a mainstream secondary school or Kura Kaupapa Māori for their senior secondary schooling.

Kura Kaupapa Māori (Māori language immersion schools)

Rotorua has four Kura Kaupapa Māori:

Media

Rotorua has several media organisations, including the Rotorua Daily Post , More FM Rotorua and The Hits Rotorua.

Sister cities

Rotorua's sister cities are: [93]

Notable people

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