About Rotorua

History & Culture

Rotorua, based on a Maori word meaning 'Second Lake', was settled by the Maori people of the Te Arawa iwi (tribe). Rotorua still is the heartland of the New Zealand Maori culture, and visitors have many opportunities to experience the hospitality, customs and warm spirit of this country's indigenous people.

The main attraction in those early days was a large silica formation known as the Pink and White Terraces, but these were sadly destroyed by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. It is recorded that this massive eruption killed over 120 people, but it is possible that many more died. The Tarawera eruption also completely buried the Maori village of Te Wairoa ( The Buried Village), now one of the many fascinating tourist attractions in Rotorua.

There are a number of Maori Villages and cultural activities throughout the city from many offering a night time "Scrumptious Hangi Dinner & Show" to the captivating Maori Village of Whakarewarewa - to be found just a short walk from Geneva Motor Lodge.

All cultural experiences on offer in Rotorua have their own unique character and we are happy to advise you while staying with us. Here, you are literally spoiled for choice. (Check out out our Cultural Experience page for more details)

You could even take a unique tour to Mokoia Island while visiting the city. Many fascinating legends have been told about this mystical island, including New Zealand's most famous Maori love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. Mokoia Island, situated in the heart of Lake Rotorua, is now a private bird sanctuary, and opportunities to visit this very special place are limited.

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