(Kiri Danielle) A Facebook page for people from Rotorua is creating a buzz online – attracting thousands of followers in less than a day.
The “You know you’re from Rotorua when …” page was created less than a week ago by Rotorua expats Hikurangi Tahau and Choppy Whakatau and increased in membership from 1000 to more than 6000 in less than 24 hours on Monday.
The page has been flooded with posts by Rotorua locals and expats sharing memories of growing up in Rotorua – and continues to grow as many of them add friends to the closed group.
Mr Tahau said he and his wife were amazed and overwhelmed with how fast the page had grown in such a short time.
“We currently reside in Brisbane and the idea for the page came from a page that one of our whanau had started in Turangi. Our kids were talking to their nanny on the phone and we got a bit homesick so we started telling them about the things we used to do in Rotorua like playing netball at Kuirau Park, riding on the Toot ‘n’ Whistle train and travelling from Waipa Village to play rugby on the fields that used to be in the middle of the Rotorua Race Course,” he said.
“We were up for hours talking about the memories and the good times we had in Rotorua and wanted to start a page for people to share their stories and memories.
“The response has exceeded our expectations. We hope everyone is happy and enjoys the page.”
Local personalities Kingi Biddle, Annette Sykes, Charles Sturt and Potaua Biasiny-Tule are just a few who have shared memories on the site.
Mr Biddle said he thought the page was wonderful.
“This page really solidifies our identity as tamariki of Rotorua,” he said.
Rotorua local Robert Piripi, who grew up in Koutu and Whakarewarewa, said he and lots of people he knew had been checking the page at least every hour for the past three days.
“Everyone has been having a laugh at people’s stories about how Rotorua used to be. It’s awesome reading memories shared by people I haven’t seen in ages,” he said.
The page has proved so popular some members have complained online that they couldn’t sleep because they were enjoying the posts so much.
Memories of Rotorua posted on the site include stories of soaking or swimming in the foot baths at Kuirau Park, penny diving and bathing at Whakarewarewa Village and even the distinct sulphur smell of Rotorua.
One post said, “You know you’re from Rotorua when you come back, take a deep breath and say ahhhhhhh”.
Another said, “You know you’re from Rotorua when u gota towel on ur head an ur driving in th car afta a nice hot Whaka bath lol …”
The lakes are a popular topic, with one member posting: “You know you’re from Rotorua when your family goes for a swim out da Blue Lakes and it’s packed and your dad pulls out a soap n starts scrubbing himself!”.
The former Towers, Fenton’s, Palace and Aces nightclubs are also hot topics.
When one member posted a photo of complimentary passes to Ace of Clubs, it got more than 140 “likes”.
Mention was also made of our local Hollywood royalty.
“You know you’re from Rotorua when everyone’s uncle/brother/cousin is Cliff Curtis or Temuera Morrison LOL”.
The page also features tributes to Rotorua people who have passed away, including Howard Morrison, Taini Morrison and Hawea Vercoe.
See the page here