With Christmas here, reporter Sonya Bateson found out what messages our local people want to share over the holiday season.
Kevin Winters, Rotorua Mayor:
Nga mihi nui mo te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou. Season's greeting to everyone. The tragedy from Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in recent days is a timely reminder of how precious our children are to us all.
If I can make one plea this Christmas it is for every one of us to do everything we possibly can to keep our children safe this holiday season. Know where your kids are and what they're doing. Make sure they're secure when travelling in vehicles. Watch them closely near the water. Ensure they don't have access to drugs or alcohol. And keep them free from the risk of abuse or violence. Tiakina a tatau tamariki. Ko ratau nga rangatira mo apopo. Look after our children. They are our leaders of tomorrow. I wish everyone in Rotorua a safe and happy Christmas and every best wish for 2013.
Roger Gordon, Chamber of Commerce chief executive:
I would like to extend a very happy festive season wish to everyone in Rotorua. For me it will be a real family time with all my family coming home. But for many it is a time that they have to work and look after the many thousands of tourists to our city. I hope they still have time for some Christmas fare. Above all I hope everyone has a safe Christmas. I am looking forward to next year. There are so many great things happening, so many big events, so many things we can get involved in to make a difference. Let's see if we can get our great city of Rotorua really moving ahead next year.
Tony Marks, Rotorua Tourism Committee chairman:
On behalf of the Rotorua Tourism Committee, I'd like to thank all of you who have helped us and the team in marketing put Rotorua firmly back on the tourism ``must do'' list. With the opportunities in event hosting, biking, wellness, unmatched geothermal activities and the valuable Maori cultural heritage, my board and I are very confident indeed that we can help the Rotorua economy and prosperity. Our compliments of the season to everyone.
Elizabeth Marvelly, Rotorua songstress:
First, I'd like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Peace, love, and happiness to everyone and be safe out there this holiday season.
My Christmas wish for next year is for a commitment to ending child poverty in our beautiful country. It would be my dream to know that every Kiwi kid is getting the best start to life possible; food in their tummies, shoes on their feet and access to free healthcare when they need it, amongst other things. It's time to stop prioritising politics over the futures of our tamariki. They're our future, they're our children and we need to keep them safe, healthy and happy. So my wish for 2013, and for every year after that, is for our kids to grow up in a country where they have all they need to grow, learn and dream big dreams of their own.
Patrick Walsh, John Paul College principal:
I would like to acknowledge and affirm the wonderful job teachers, principals and support staff have done for the students of Rotorua City in 2012. Despite the issues of Novopay, National Standards, proposed larger classes and a lack of resources, schools in Rotorua continue to provide a high quality education. I certainly hope parents have an opportunity to spend quality time with their children over Christmas, reconnecting with their goals, dreams and aspirations and above all keeping them safe. When children return to school in January it is not the expensive toys or presents they talk about, but time at the beach or park with family, playing cricket, touch football or even sharing a board game or book with Mum or Dad.
Sue Winters, Volcanics eLearning Community ePrincipal:
What a difference the internet has made to how we manage Christmas. Gifts are ordered and redeemed online. Secret lists and Christmas food are organised through Facebook messaging and email. On Christmas Day, using Skype, grandparents overseas can watch the kids open presents in NZ. What can't the internet provide at Christmas? It can't provide the feel of that hug from a relative or friend returning home or the special feel of that first cuddle of a new baby recently born into the family. Most of all, it can't replace the loved ones who have passed away and won't be with us this Christmas. The internet? A clever, organisational tool which releases us to keep Christmas about the people. Arohanui.
Ngahi Bidois, Te Arawa international speaker, author and consultant:
Kia ora. I would like to wish you and your whanau a very Merry Christmas and a safe and enjoyable New Year. I would also like to acknowledge those who passed in 2012 and will no longer be seated at the Christmas table with us. May you who lost loved ones find comfort at this time. Opportunities of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity and I hope 2013 provides you with many such life changing opportunities. Finally, thank you for your many kind words regarding The Daily Post articles. Your words inspire me. Blessings.
Adrienne Whitewood, Rotorua fashion designer:
My style tip for the festive season _ wear lots of rich bold printed tops, vintage scarves and polka dot statement dresses, found at The Living Room Collective 1149 Eruera St.
And if less is more, just think how much more would be. Have a blessed and well dressed Christmas and a safe and happy New Year; all the best for an exciting 2013.
Jordi Webber, Titanium member from Rotorua:
I have had an amazing year. One of my best so far, but as success goes, the best to date.
In the coming year I would like to see more great New Zealand talent be born and a lot more people sharing their talents, whether it be in sports, film, music or whatever. I would also like to see more kind favours being done around the place, if you see someone needing help with groceries or someone with no lunch, help them out. I'd like to acknowledge my family for being the biggest supporters in my life and acknowledge everyone that has taught me something, because everything I have learned, it has led me to here. Thank you.
Wallace Bain, Rotorua Coroner:
This Rotorua community is very special _ both the people and what the district has to offer to us all with its beautiful lakes, gardens, forests, walkways and mountain biking. My Christmas message and hope is that we keep ourselves, families and friends safe and well so we can all continue to enjoy this beautiful place. As Coroner I see some tragic and very sad deaths. Many of these are totally avoidable. My hope is that we heed the lessons from these deaths and they can be avoided in the future. Don't: bed share with babies, drink and drive, use a mobile phone whilst driving and keep your speed down. Be pro-active and step in and stop others. I do not want to meet you in the New Year.
Judith Stanway, BDO Rotorua Ltd managing partner and Rotorua Business Person of the Year:
I love Christmas _ and of course holidays. But I am particularly looking forward to 2013 in Rotorua. There are at last signs of growth and change that provide the potential for a good year.
The economy is looking more positive, investments are happening and Grow Rotorua will get traction next year. It will be great to work next year with businesses picturing success, working on their strengths and making changes. The holidays are a time for reflection and planning ahead, as leveraging off the new environment requires changes for us all. We underestimate the special business environment we have here in Rotorua, where culture, collaboration and community are the hallmarks. We wish Rotorua and particularly Rotorua business a happy Christmas and look forward to participating in a positive looking Rotorua in 2013.