Iconic Rainbow Springs to close after 90 years in Rotorua

NZ 01/03/2022

One of Rotorua's iconic tourist spots, Rainbow Springs Nature Park, is sadly set to shut its doors after 90 years in operation.

The wildlife park, which first opened in 1932, has struggled financially during the pandemic. Citing high maintenance costs and an uncertain future left the operators to accept it was no longer financially viable.

"Rainbow Springs Nature Park, while an iconic and treasured attraction in the local community, has always brought with it substantial operating and maintenance costs which had been under consideration by Ngāi Tahu Tourism for some time," Ngāi Tahu Holdings chief operating officer Craig Ellison said in a statement.

The park relied heavily on international manuhiri, and it is not expected tourism levels will be back to their pre-pandemic levels for many more months to come.

"We empathise with the nostalgia that the Rotorua community has with Rainbow Springs, and we are sad that the current restrictions, the high maintenance costs, and ongoing uncertainty mean that things are not sustainable for the future."

All wildlife residents in the park will be re-homed by September, but the National Kiwi Hatchery also located at Rainbow Spring will remain open, with plans to move it to the recently re-opened Agrodome site.