Skip to main content
Wai Ariki Spa

How do you design a luxury spa with a Te Ao Maori focus?

The issue

Pukeroa Oruawhata Group approached us with a vision to build a luxury spa on Rotorua’s lakefront, a wellness centre which encompasses both Maori culture and Rotorua’s spa heritage. Working together for more than 20 years on various projects including Rotorua Shopping Centre, RCG understands Pukeroa’s vision and values. The challenge is to provide more than just a venue for tourists it is also to encompass Maori culture throughout the Architecture, branding and concept while acknowledging the special relationship Maori have with hot springs for centuries.

Solving that

We designed the Wai Ariki (meaning chiefly waters) Spa based on Te Aranga design principles, which recognises the input of all parties. The principles are intended as an enabling strategic foundation for iwi/hapū to adopt, customise and further develop in response to local context. They also provide other stakeholders and the design community with a clearer picture as to how iwi/hapū are likely to view, value and wish to participate in the design and development of the built environment within their ancestral rohe (territory).

Partnering with Pukeroa and Belgravia Leisure, it was critical to create a commercially successful venture – Ahi Ka, which in turn builds on the unique local cultural, spiritual, physical and communal functions that combine in the activities of a spa.

We created an inclusive journey of well-being from the physical to the spiritual. From a shallow wading pool with a reflexology surface for short visit users, to the main centre which includes many attractions such as healing herbal pools and mineral rich thermal revitalising mud baths.  The spa also includes a private sanctuary providing high end treatments.

Wai Ariki Spa
Wai Ariki Spa
Wai Ariki Spa
Wai Ariki Spa
Wai Ariki Spa

As a result...

From the short visitor experience to the high end private sanctuary we have designed a spa that offers services at different price points. A key driver for developing Rotoru'as tourism economy the spa provides an enriching cultural experience and demonstrates the close relationship Maori have with hot springs, thermal elements and healing herbs.  All of which can now be enjoyed by the many.

Waiho I te toipoto, kaua I te toiroa

Let us keep close together not far apart

Looking for a strategic design and property partner?
Let's talk

Looking to buy, sell
or lease a property?
Talk to RCGR