This winter, meet some of Rotorua’s warmest people

Traditional winter tales usually involve the chilly temperatures, the wind, the sideways rain and, in some places, snow.

Rotorua tells a different story. Here, where geothermal energy rises from within the earth, where locals exude a warm hospitality, and where a myriad of playful activities await, Rotorua proudly claims the title of New Zealand’s warmest winter destination.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the amazing people in our community who make winter the warmest, most fun, most inviting in all of Aotearoa, and some of their own recommended places to visit.

Dave McGrath from Buried Village of Te Wairoa

“I chose to live in Rotorua because it’s my hometown and, after living overseas, I felt a strong pull to return with my family. My favorite aspect of the city now is the geothermal activity, which offers unique bathing experiences and stunning landscapes.
“Working for Buried Village is especially meaningful to me as it has been managed by my family for over 90 years, and I cherish the opportunity to preserve its history and share it with visitors. The best part of the tourism industry is interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and showcasing the beauty of Rotorua.”
Dave recommends:
“My favorite public places are the back beach at Lake Tikitapu and Hot Water Beach at Lake Tarawera.”

Tatiana Kiriona from ahu Boutique

“Born and raised in Rotorua, I grew to appreciate the beauty of life among the people of Te Arawa and our whenua, realising as an adult that no place is more precious than home. I've always wanted to work for a Māori pakihi (business), but opportunities were scarce in my youth until ahu Boutique came along. Fashion appeals to me because it allows for limitless creativity and inspiration, which is why I love what I do.”
Tatiana recommends:
“Check out my small pakihi named Pīata Jewellery which is available in store and online at ahu.”

Hollie Cooke from Secret Spot Hot Tubs

“Born and raised in Rotorua, I've developed a deep appreciation for my hometown. I love the variety of activities available, from tourism attractions to walks, and bike rides in the forests.
“Before working at Secret Spot, I visited for a Shinny Dip and was captivated by its hidden oasis feel, which inspired me to join and create that welcoming atmosphere for others. My favourite part of working in tourism is hearing customers' stories about their favourite places and sharing my own recommendations, making the experience special for everyone.”
Hollie recommends:
“The lakes and the environment that we have around our city. I love going for an afternoon swim after a morning of work. Being able to work around such a beautiful forest and meet people every day who are enjoying the forest is such a treat.”

Nadya Tapara from ZORB

“Growing up in Rotorua, I loved the wide range of tourism activities, eagerly awaiting weekends to try something new like Skyline, Polynesian Spa, or ZORB. This passion remains, as I'm still a child at heart.
“I initially joined ZORB as part of the summer crew to gain experience, make connections, and explore the tourism industry. Now, as a member of the permanent crew, I enjoy engaging with customers, working outdoors, and the camaraderie with my team. My favourite part of working in tourism is meeting people from around the world, building relationships, and enjoying the occasional free ride.”
Nadya recommends:
“The Rotorua Museum was the go-to back when it was still open, however, I have also grown to really enjoy going for a stroll through Government Gardens – a great mindful activity, to say the least.
“Rotorua is more than a place, it’s a people! With manaakitanga at the heart of everything we do, our locals will greet you with the warmest of welcomes this winter."

Nau mai, haere mai, come meet the locals who make Rotorua New Zealand’s warmest winter.

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