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A Glowing Celebration of 125 Years

A Glowing Celebration of 125 Years

The natural, outstanding and beautiful Waitomo Glowworm Caves is celebrating a very special landmark next month – 125 years of guiding.

To mark this very grand milestone, the partnership of Ruapuha Uekaha Hapu Trust, Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl) and the Department of Conservation are hosting Limestone, People & Time - a series of commemorative events that will take place between 6 - 14 September.

Grant Webster, CEO of thl – operators of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, says: “Waitomo Glowworm Caves is one of New Zealand’s oldest tourist attractions. In 1889 local Māori, including Tanetinorau, opened the doors to visitor tours at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves - and it’s been a very special place for both the local people and visitors ever since.”

“Their early enterprise has helped Waitomo Glowworm Caves grow into one of New Zealand’s most recognised and popular tourist destinations and it has become a world attraction in its own right!”

Gordon Hewston, Operations Manager at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, says: “The people of Waitomo are extremely passionate about the Caves - recognising the impact
they have on tourism to the region.”

“Glowworms are native to New Zealand and have helped put our country on the world map – with millions visiting to learn more about our mysterious and magical underground world.”

“The events we have lined up over the coming weeks will help remember, recognise and celebrate the early entrepreneurs, as well as all the people who have worked at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves over the last 125 years.”

Highlight events, include: a Glowworm Ball at the Waitomo Caves Hotel; a Waitomo community gathering in Woodlyn Park; photographic and art exhibitions; a Caves staff reunion; Waitomo movies; storytelling; guided walks and will culminate with the Ngapikowai Event which will take place at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre. Many of the events will be free to attend, however booking in advance is strongly recommended.

Gordon continues: “Waitomo is steeped with amazing natural wonders and since opening 125 years ago, people can now also visit and enjoy Aranui Cave and Ruakuri Cave. We also have The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. experiences – there’s literally something for everyone.”

“We want to celebrate the past, present and future and we look forward to seeing what the next 125 years has to come.”

For more information about the special celebratory events that will be taking place in Waitomo, visit


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