Waimangu Volcanic Valley appoints new GM

David Blackmore. Image: Adrian Hodge Photography

Waimangu Volcanic Valley says it is gearing up for growth with the appointment of former Skyline Rotorua manager David Blackmore as general manager.

The Rotorua local was sales and marketing manager at Skyline for more than eight years before joining the thermal attraction where he is expected to play a pivotal role in driving growth.

The appointment follows the sale of Waimangu earlier this year to a partnership between Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi, Tūhourangi Tribal Authority and Te Puia l New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley chairman, Alan Skipwith, said after three months in the business, the partnership now has a clearer understanding of the operation and where it may go in the future.

“The existing team has been fantastic and has helped us easily transition into the business. We’re pleased to welcome David on board as general manager to lead the team into the busy summer season.

“His experience and credibility in the tourism industry and the extensive relationships which he has nurtured during this time, will play a pivotal role. There is potential to not only grow the business in a sustainable way, but to grow everyone here as well.”

Skipwith added that the partnership is working on identifying iwi stories to weave into the existing Waimangu operation, and are talking with nearby tourism operators to ensure their stories are consistent.

“We don’t want to overload people with too much information, but we do want to enhance the existing experience and our rich Māori history will play an important role in delivering that.”

Blackmore said he is looking forward to the new opportunity and being able to build on the visionary work undertaken at Waimangu in the past.

“As a unique geothermal and eco-tourism attraction, Waimangu’s history and legacy lends itself to plenty of rich experiences and stories. I’m looking forward making my own contribution to its next phase of development and taking it forward to a new level.”

Waimangu is the world’s youngest geothermal system and was created following the Tarawera eruption in 1886 – the same eruption that killed more than 150 people and destroyed what was known as the eighth wonder of the world, the Pink and White Terraces.

Blackmore said the link to the Pink and White Terraces was a contributing factor in taking on the job.

“There are very few places on the planet where you can work in and around what was the eighth wonder of the world.”

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