Congratulations to Rotorua Canopy Tours, Redwoods Treewalk and Kaitiaki Adventures, who are among the seven winners of the inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards held by Qualmark.
The winners were selected from 41 finalists, with over 100 original entries received from Qualmark Gold accredited operators. The 2019 winners were announced by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis on 1 May 2019.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer says Rotorua is well represented with three inspiring businesses in the list of winners.
“These attractions all demonstrate excellence in manaakitanga (hospitality) and tiaki (duty of care for people and place) in Rotorua.
“The Gold Qualmark accreditation recognises these businesses are leading the way in making Rotorua a world class sustainable visitor destination, so we are very proud to have them all recognised.”
Rotorua Canopy Tours won the award for its new Ultimate Canopy Tour experience. This is a step up in adventure level from the Original Tour with a total of 1200m in ziplines, a cliff walk, controlled descent, swing bridges and a spiral staircase, all in ancient New Zealand forest. The business is also restoring the native forest with pest control.
Redwoods Treewalk and Nightlights Experience was another winner, with its 700-metre long, eco-tourism walk traversing 117-year-old Redwood trees with a series of suspension bridges. The Nightlights Experience partners with world-acclaimed lighting design and sustainability champion David Trubridge Design, featuring 30 lanterns and over 40 infinite colour spots and feature lights which illuminate the forest at night. The business has also introduced world first technology to protect the trees.
The Kaitiaki Adventures White Water Rafting at Okere Falls was also recognised. The rafting trip snakes through steep native bush canyons and over 14 rapids and three waterfalls including world-renowned seven metre Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. The business also practices kaitiakitanga (guardianship or protection) of the whenua awa (river) and maunga (mountain) with a range of inspiring initiatives.
Rotorua was even more strongly represented in the Awards shortlist, where the Day Pass at Rainbow Springs Nature Park was included for its opportunity for visitors to get up close with the wonderful birds, bugs and beasts that call New Zealand home. Their Day Pass includes a 40-minute guided experience, new playscapes and water play installations, a nocturnal kiwi enclosure experience and unlimited rides on the Big Splash. See how they also help the Kiwi population here.
Image caption (l-r): Redwood Treewalk co-founder and director Bruce Thomasen; Kaitiaki Adventures' Business Development Manager Jason Wright, Rotorua MP Todd McClay and Canopy Tours' General Manager Paul Button