We all know that person. The one who invites you to Christmas dinner every year and insists you bring “nothing but your beautiful self.”
So, you generally rock up with a bottle of wine or selection of craft beers. Which is great – especially if they're from Rotorua’s own wine makers, Volcanic Hills Winery, or local beer masters, Croucher Brewing Co. – but aren’t you tired of being predictable?
This year, why not surprise your hostess with the mostest with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for the table? Summertime is particularly perfect for this, providing instant colour, drama and beauty. Alternatively, dried arrangements are really popular again. Tending toward muted colour schemes, they’re perfect for minimalist or Scandi interiors, however, brightly coloured arrangements are available too. Obviously, the key selling points for dried flowers is that they basically require no maintenance and last much longer than their freshly cut counterparts.
Having been a florist in Rotorua for 22 years, Julie Fiske (above) and her partner Tim decided to open their own shop Kānuka Boutique Florist on Eruera Street in October 2020, not long after the first Covid lockdown. While Julie arranges flowers and gift items in the shop, Tim looks after the bookwork and website and is the chief delivery guy on Saturdays.
“We absolutely love what we do. It’s definitely not a job to me, and I actually can't wait to get to work most days,” Julie said.
“We deal with the most beautiful customers and our little mantra is, ‘We make people smile with flowers’.”
The Kānuka store is modern and on-trend, and Julie strives to connect with customers of all ages and their budgets.
Keeping up with the trends in floristry, Julie offers quality fresh florals and dried floral arrangements, as well as beautiful handmade candles, hand-crafted local chocolate, and have a large variety of indoor plants and pots.
“We support local people where we can and like to support a number of small New Zealand-owned businesses to get our unique stock. This, and our simple biodegradable wraps and gorgeous style, makes us different.”
Also on Eruera Street, you’ll find Rotorua Florist, which has a long and interesting history.
Originally founded and operated by Pamela Jenkins in 1972, Rotorua Florist was the shop where one young Katie McLaughlin started her floristry apprenticeship at the age of 20. After completing her apprenticeship, Katie purchased her own shop, Daisy Chain Florist, which she ran for nearly a decade.
Four years later, Katie also purchased Rotorua Florist from previous boss Pamela, and ran both businesses for a wee while before choosing to close her original shop to focus solely on running Rotorua Florist. Katie’s been a florist now for more than half her life.
“Here at the Rotorua Florist, not only do we create special bespoke floral arrangements, we also have a huge selection of unique and different one-off, specialty gifts that no one else in Rotorua has,” Katie said.
“One of my favourite things is doing the window display, it's the most important part of my shop as it shows our style, attention to detail and creative flair. It definitely brings people in and creates a lot of interest.”
Katie says that although she’s been running Rotorua Florist for six years, Pamela’s loyal customers still ask for her, but they feel better as soon as Katie says she was trained by Pamela.
“They feel at ease knowing the floristry standards and costumer care will be just the same as it has for the last 49 years and that's what makes us different from the rest.”