A popular Māori proverb says, “He aha te mea nui o te ao? (What is the most important thing in the world?) He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.)”
We hear this whakataukī often in Rotorua and there’s no doubt it has influenced how we’ve been looking after our city’s manuhiri (visitors) for nearly two centuries.
On that note, we’re starting a new feature here and on our socials to introduce you to some of our locals and hear what they love about Rotorua.
Introducing Kip Mather, administration manager at Redwoods Treewalk
How long have you lived here?
I have lived in Rotorua for five years, but I am originally from the UK.
What do you love most about Rotorua and why?
As an avid outdoorsman, I love the ease of access to the trails for running and biking, and the lakes during the summer months. I also love the small town feel of living here as you get to know your community and neighbours and everyone is so friendly and welcoming.
Do you have any hobbies or pastimes that take advantage of our beautiful region?
Definitely! Trail running, tramping and mountain biking are huge passions of mine and living in Rotorua literally means I can step out of my doorstep or office (I work at the Redwoods Treewalk and Redwoods Altitude) and I’m right amongst it! Also, as Rotorua is a good central location, you’re only a few hours’ drive from the Tongariro National Park and other beautiful areas in the Bay of Plenty and Central North Island.
Do you have a favourite café or restaurant in Rotorua? Who are they and what’s your favourite dish?
I love FTP Vegan Eats – amazing, decadent burgers! Third Place Café is also a firm favourite, especially with such a great view over the lake and Ōhinemutu.
When you have friends or family visit, what do you recommend they do while they’re here and why?
Obviously, Redwoods Treewalk and Redwoods Altitude (yes, I am biased, but it’s a great activity for all the family!). Apart from visiting the Redwoods, I’ll take friends and family for a walk around Blue Lake and for a dip in the hot pools – Secret Spot Hot Tubs Rotorua or Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are my favourite spots! For a geothermal experience, you can’t go wrong with Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave or Waimangu Volcanic Valley as you can easily spend hours at these locations, making them great value for money too.