Hotels at Mount Ngongotaha

Hotels at Mount Ngongotaha

Rotorua, New Zealand

Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands (NWTL

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The Brief

The brief for a new cultural-led destination around Lake Rotorua includes designs for two hotels and lodges, an activity centre, a contemporary Maori arts centre and theatre, a visitor centre, a Maori innovation centre and a cultural ‘arts trail’ and retail.


The first hotel – ‘The Karearea’, or Hawks nest – comprises of 20 rooms perched on a steep slope among the tree tops, and offers views of Lake Rotorua, Mokoia Island and over the Bay of Plenty. The concept is for an open timber frame with pre-fabricated bedroom pods inserted within.

‘Ihenga’s View’ – named after the first Maori to arrive and name everything he saw on North Island - has 20 individual suites and a geothermal spa. Geological ‘fractured’ pools allow both hot and cold bathing, and are uniquely surrounded by a Kiwi sanctuary – our clients’ commitment to the restorative process of healing the land and the special environment of Rotorua.


Each element of the development is intended to provide an authentic and personal experience that is not only special to the individual but grounded in a ‘genius loci’ sense of place and narrative. We make contemporary reference to vernacular Maori construction forms, and in particular the use of their oxblood colour and the palisade which represents family (Whanau) and community/the people (Iwi).


220 ha (544 acres)
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