Key Rotorua attractions catch COVID-19 shutdown virus


Muddy Waters

24 4 2020

Iconic Rotorua tourist attractions – the Agrodome and Rainbow Springs – have become victims of the COVID-19 virus lockdown.

In what must be a blow to the city’s post-COVID recovery plan, the owner of the two tourism drawcards, Ngāi Tahu Tourism, has announced it has closed its nationwide tourism operations and laid off 300 workers.


Not immune

A company statement from the South Island iwi-based group said Ngāi Tahu Tourism was not immune to the “significant toll” the impact of the virus was having on the tourism industry.

As well as Agrodome and Rainbow Springs, the company owns Hukafalls Jet in Taupo.

“Our tourism businesses, alongside the rest of the industry, no longer have any revenue, and even when the industry does eventually re-establish, it is expected to take a long time to recover,” said a statement from Ngai Tahu Holdings Chief Executive Mike Pohio and Lisa Tumaha, Kaiwhakahaere, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

“Therefore, after robust analysis and discussions and with heavy hearts, we share with you our intention to close our Tourism businesses for the time being.

“This difficult decision has also resulted in a proposal to significantly downsize our Ngāi Tahu Tourism workforce, with more than 300 kaimahi (workers) at all levels, potentially losing their jobs as a result.”

A final decision would be made in May, after a full consultation period, the company said.

“We value our kaimahi greatly as they are at the centre of all Ngāi Tahu Tourism is and does, so to be proposing to head down this path is devastating for us – and certainly something we did not envisage a few months ago.”

The company said it was doing all it could to support those affected during this difficult period.


The Ngāi Tahu Tourism portfolio includes:

Shotover Jet

Guided Walks New Zealand

Hollyford Track

NZ Snowshoe

Dart River

Dart Stables

Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Glacier Hot Pools

Hukafalls Jet


Rainbow Springs

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

Earth & Sky (joint venture)

Vantage Helicopters

Queenstown Snowmobiles


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