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Y13 Geography Students Become Rotorua Tourists


Last Thursday saw over 60 Year 13 Geography students head to Rotorua. This was part of their research internal focussed on tourism development in Rotorua, most significantly what brings tourists to Rotorua.

Although the three-hour bus ride was long, a stop in the Hobbit-themed town of Matamata along the way provided a welcome break. Once arrived in Rotorua town centre, the students immediately began to conduct surveys about what brings tourists to Rotorua. With so many students looking for answers, we were very grateful that the tourists were so willing to help us out. They answered questions including their country of origin and their preferred type of attractions. We were able to survey a wide range of tourists, visiting from places as far-flung as Israel, Denmark and Japan.

Following their time at the Rotorua Town Centre the students moved on towards the Agrodome. This provided a valuable insight into an integral part of New Zealand’s economy – sheep! The students joined an audience of overseas tourists watching 19 different types of sheep be paraded onto the stage. Our host gave brief descriptions of each sheep, particularly their use for either wool or meat. The fan favourites included the Romney, which fell asleep while waiting on stage, and the Drysdale sheep, which had very distinctive wool, commonly used in carpets. One of the highlights of the show came when three dogs were called onto the stage. The three huntaways were even able to run across the backs of the sheep! Our time at the Agrodome finished with more surveying of tourists.

After a long day of surveying and exploring Rotorua the Year 13 students finally arrived at Keswick Christian Camp for dinner, kindly prepared by the camp staff. Even though the dinner didn’t match up to our parents’ cooking skills, it was nice to finally take a break from a long day.

After dinner, the students were given free time. Many students went to the beach to enjoy the sunset over Lake Rotorua. Some students spent their time playing card games while others began conversations, making new friends and developing our bond as a year group.

On the second day of the trip the students woke up bright and early to venture out to one of Rotorua’s top tourist attractions; Skyline Skyrides Rotorua. After racing each other on the luge, the students hopped back on the bus to visit their final tourist attraction, Te Puia. At this centre for Maori cultural experiences, the Year 13 students went on a guided tour, exploring geothermal wonders and famous geysers as well as being able to see first-hand how Maori traditional arts and crafts are made.

This was the last stage of our trip, and signalled time to start the drive home. We made sure to honour the 2 minutes of silence at 1:32pm with the rest of New Zealand, commemorating the terror attacks at the two Christchurch mosques. We all gathered on the banks of Lake Rotorua in a circle with karakia said out loud and a shared waiata before silent individual prayers.

This was a memorable trip which enabled us to learn about Rotorua’s tourism industry, as well as to grow closer as a year group. We want to thank Miss Bradley, Mrs Stevens and Mr McKie for making this trip possible and so enjoyable for all of us.

Zoe Chou and Danica Loulie-Wijtenburg