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A glowing year of celebration

A glowing year of celebration for one of New Zealand’s oldest tourist attractions

Waitomo Glowworm Caves celebrates its 125 year anniversary of guiding this year. To mark the historical occasion the must see attraction is giving something back to New Zealanders.

Kiwis who visit the significant attraction between 1st January and 31st March 2014, will be gifted with the opportunity to return to the caves as many times as they like during 2014 for FREE.

Gordon Hewston, Operations Manager, thl says “We are extremely excited to celebrate this momentous milestone in New Zealand history and this gift is the first of a number of exciting activities planned throughout the year.”

Waitomo Glowworm Caves amazing formations and thousands of tiny glowworms lighting the journey through the caves, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and regularly features in global lists of the top caves in the world.

The caves have been attracting people from not only around New Zealand but around the world since they were first opened to the public in 1889 by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau, making it one of the founding four tourist attractions in the country, soon after European settlers arrived.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves were first explored by English surveyor Fred Mace accompanied by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau in the late 1880s.

Local Maori people knew of the caves' existence, but the subterranean caverns had never been extensively explored until Mace and Tinorau went to investigate.

It was then in 1889 Tinorau opened the caves to tourists which saw visitor numbers to the region soar. Chief Tane and his wife Huti escorted groups through the cave for a small fee-one candle.

Many staff employed at the caves today are direct descendants of one of the first documented explorers Tane Tinorau Opataia. Huia Davis great grandson and Head Guide at Waitomo Glowworm Caves says “I feel very privileged to share this taonga (treasure) and educate visitors about the caves. Waitomo is famous for what lies underground, and in particular the Waitomo Glowworm Caves which figure very significantly in the history of our iwi Ngati Maniapoto and hapu Ngati Uekaha.

“The silent boat ride through the grotto with thousands of glowworm lights overhead is truly breath taking!” says Huia Davis.

The caves are also world-renowned for its superb acoustics and many famous singers and choirs have performed here and have been amazed with the purity of the sound.

“We hope the free pass encourages people to come back again and again throughout this year and share the experience with their friends and family to celebrate 125 years of guiding in the region” says Gordon Hewston.


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