Ōtorohanga launches virtual kiwiana tour

Monday 16 January 2023

A new and engaging way to check out the icons, heroes and traditions that have formed our national identity – and even get a little bit nostalgic – has been launched in Ōtorohanga, which styles itself as the official Kiwiana Town of New Zealand.

For two decades the Waikato town has entertained and fascinated New Zealanders and overseas visitors with its displays of Kiwiana, including the Sir Ed Hillary Walkway where just about everything quintessentially Kiwi is on display.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT) has partnered with Ōtorohanga District Council and Ōtorohanga Community Board to create a virtual tour of the Sir Ed Hillary Walkway for people who are not able to visit in-person or those who want to get a taste before they go.

HWT’s chief executive Nicola Greenwell says the virtual tour of the 26 interactive exhibits in the Walkway is the first of several digital experiences being developed in the Waikato.

“Like other destinations around the world, we see great value in leveraging technology to share our experiences with the global online community and create additional interest in the mighty Waikato.

“Travel and photography have always been closely linked, whether it’s a selfie posted on social media or maybe a TV travel show or magazine – this virtual experience is designed to intrigue the viewer, make them want to come to visit the real thing in Ōtorohanga,” she says.

The virtual tour gives viewers a taste of Kiwiana and showcases Ōtorohanga to those who may never be able to travel to New Zealand, or are not able to visit in-person, making the Sir Ed Hillary Walkway globally accessible to all.

Mrs Greenwell says that the Sir Ed Hillary Walkway on the main street is just one of the Kiwiana displays round the town of Ōtorohanga for visitors to explore including corrugated iron kiwi sculptures and even Kiwiana-themed public toilets.

“There’s everything Kiwi there, from the buzzy bee kids’ toy, pavlova, gumboots, and school milk to the haka, honouring the fact that New Zealand gave women the right to vote in 1893, the first country in the world to do so, and more.

“Ōtorohanga is the perfect place for Kiwis to feel sentimental and for our overseas manuhiri/visitors about the quintessential characters and things that are intrinsic to our way of life.”

The Sir Ed Walkway is one of the Waikato’s free attractions, and it is always open. Follow this link to connect with the virtual tour.