Rotorua’s Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa finalist in world architecture awards

Rotorua’s Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa finalist in world architecture awards

Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa.
Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa.

Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings Ltd cHairman David Tapsell said being shortlisted was already a win for everyone involved, including PLHL, the Wai Ariki team, spa manager Belgravia, designer RCG, Ngāti Whakaue, and the Rotorua community.

“Wai Ariki lives and breathes through an innovative, authentic design that’s specific to our rohe, envisioned by the minds of Ngāti Whakaue mana whenua and delivered by Kiwi architects.

“This latest recognition places it on a pedestal in front of the world,” Tapsell said.

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Inspired by Ngāti Whakaue cultural narratives, the physical design of Wai Ariki was infused with local whakairo (Māori carvings) and designs while reflecting the volcanic colour palette of the surrounding rohe, the statement said.

Tapsell said they were proud to deliver an experience that was “tightly woven with who we are as Ngāti Whakaue, and to be able to share our unique heritage and manaakitanga with the world in this way”.

General manager Debbie Robertson said the building itself was an important part of the Wai Ariki experience, highlighting and reinforcing the Ngāti Whakaue legacy.  Photo / Andrew Warner
General manager Debbie Robertson said the building itself was an important part of the Wai Ariki experience, highlighting and reinforcing the Ngāti Whakaue legacy. Photo / Andrew Warner

Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa general manager Debbie Robertson said the building itself was an important part of the Wai Ariki experience, highlighting and reinforcing the Ngāti Whakaue legacy.

“Our spa experiences are inextricably linked to the physical space, with each drawing from and supporting the other as the manuhiri experience Wai Ariki, the indigenous spa treatments, natural mineral waters, and the Ngāti Whakaue story that underpins every part.

“We know from our manuhiri — and especially those that have visited spa destinations overseas — that they see and feel the cultural nuance throughout, and as a result, they feel it is vastly unique to anything they have seen or experienced before.

“This is the feeling that everyone involved has worked so hard to bring together, and the Wai Ariki team have the privilege of being on the front line to see manuhiri experience it first hand.”

Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa's front entrance.
Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa’s front entrance.

RCG architecture and design firm director John Lenihan said Wai Ariki was close to his heart from the beginning.

“We were given the wero (challenge), guided by PLHL, to create a culturally, architecturally, experiential and beautiful space, offering manuhiri visiting Wai Ariki a visual and sensory experience like no other.

“The goal was to seamlessly blend Ngāti Whakaue’s rich cultural heritage and healing practices with breathtaking, indigenously driven design. We are delighted with how people are responding to it and the awards that have already been received, and look forward to showcasing Wai Ariki on the world stage later this year.”

Find out more about the awards here.

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