$30 million luxury spa for Te Arawa

By Taroi Black

A multi-million dollar spa development on Rotoruas’ lakefront is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars to the city's economy and job opportunities for Māori. The project is being led by the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust.

A new look for Rotoruas’ Lakefront in 2019. The $30 million luxury spa has inherited the iconic Te Arawa name Wai Ariki.

Monty Morrison of Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust says, “We know the importance of our waters, it's also part of our Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa heritage.”

The project is owned by Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust and managed by Australian based company Belgravia Leisure and its set to be the spa capital of the southern hemisphere. But, Local iwi Ngati Whakaue want first dibs.

Pukeroa Oruawhata Group director David Tapsell says, “Part of our agreement with them, we want you to employ local people, in particular, Ngāti Whakaue people. If you don't feel like they are ready you can train them, they've agreed to all of that which I believe is a fantastic position for us.”

Tapsell also says they will employ 35 staff, increasing to 80 staff in time.

“That's in addition to the two years of work that will be required just to build this facility, you know 6,500 square meters. That's a big building so there's a lot of money that will be turning through this and going right into this local economy.”

It's also the first spa development owned by Māori, giving visitors a wider scope of the area, of Te Arawa.

“It's been a long time coming for our people and we'll include history and stories of people including our gods, Ranginui and Papatuanuku”, Morrison said.   

The official work on the site, Kaura Māwhitiwhiti is expected in two months’ time.