Waimangu Volcanic Valley, a joint asset of Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust and Tūhourangi Tribal Authority, has taken out two awards at the 2019 Westpac Rotorua Business Awards.

Waimangu was recognised with the Excellence in Tourism Award, honouring all parts of the business, and also received the Innovation & Technology Award for its development of the Waimangu App.

Throughout 2018, an ambitious plan of projects was implemented across the business to raise the profile of the attraction. This included a complete rebrand, creation of a new website, development of visual assets and implementation of a new booking system and point of sale software.

Product development was a key focus, with the introduction of the Waimangu App and the development of guided products and catering offerings. The App was launched in 2018 and is available free of charge to visitors on the geothermal walk and boat cruise.

The app brings history to life, telling stories of the creation of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley in the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. It uncovers the mystery of the lost Pink and White Terraces, which can now be seen through an augmented reality feature of the App on the Lake Rotomahana Boat Cruise. Guests can see how the valley has regenerated from total destruction, and discover what lies beneath the surface of the World’s largest hot spring, Frying Pan Lake.

We’re proud to see Waimangu showcasing leadership, being one of the first tourism businesses to use technology in storytelling in this way. Receiving the Innovation & Technology Award is recognition of a significant team effort, using scientific research from GNS Science and NIWA, working with local Digital Elements and Australian based Specialist Apps to bring the project to life.

Waimangu also maintained a strong focus on sustainability that is core to its existence and role as kaitiaki of the area.

The Westpac Rotorua Business Awards celebrate local businesses from all industries and give businesses the opportunity to benchmark their success.

We’d like to congratulate the Waimangu team for their hard work and ongoing efforts to share our kōrero, and deliver exceptional experiences to our manuhiri in a sustainable manner.