Chinese audiences have been introduced to some of the charms of New Zealand via the country’s popular reality show Dad, Where Are We Going?, with Rotorua and Matamata’s Hobbiton village featuring in episodes 15 and 16 of series two, which attracted 400 million Chinese viewers.
Mayor of Rotorua Steve Chadwick says having Rotorua play host to the hugely popular television show was a massive coup for New Zealand, not to mention the region.
“Overall it’s quite hard from a New Zealand perspective to comprehend the reach of this show.”
During their time in the region, each celebrity family was hosted by a local family.
Steve says, “Rotorua has a very proud legacy of hosting visitors from around the world and having the families share our landscapes, experiences and way of life with these celebrities and their family was such a privilege.”
Two of the host families took their Dad’s eeling, two hosts took their Dad’s mountain biking in the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest and one family got to experience OGO – bouncing or bounding downhill in a giant ball or Outdoor Gravity Orb (OGO). Each episode, the five Dads are required to undertake ‘challenges’ both against each other and also together. The mountain biking Dads were challenged to take on one of the Whakarewarewa Forest’s level four mountain bike tracks. While the episode showed the Dads and their kids giving it a go on the flat, the slope track was a little too daunting and the Dads were unsuccessful in completing it. The eeling Dads were tasked with a slightly less adrenaline- fuelled challenge – to catch and smoke an eel with their children. The OGO challenge had the celebrity father and his daughter racing another OGO down the hill.
No visit to Rotorua is complete without experiencing New Zealand’s unique Māori culture, and the final scenes of episode 15 show the families being welcomed to Te Puia with a traditional Māori welcome. The fathers and children are then dressed in piu pius with moko painted on their faces, and have the opportunity to learn the haka.
The season finale, saw the Dad’s and families experience Rotorua’s Hells Gate and trying their skills at rugby. Joined by All Blacks legends Andrew Mehrtens, Grant Fox and Christian Cullen, at Matamata’s Hobbiton Movie Set, the Dads picked up the national game fast playing against each other – even the kids give it a go. Finally the cast are transformed into Hobbits with a feast fit for a king at Hobbiton’s Green Dragon pub.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism Chief Executive Kiri Goulter says, “We have no doubt that the exposure and profile gained through the programme will have a very positive impact for not only Hobbiton Movie Set and the wider Hamilton & Waikato region but for New Zealand as a whole.”