LIMESTONE, PEOPLE & TIME: celebrating 125 years of guiding in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

LIMESTONE, PEOPLE & TIME IS a nine day, dynamic programme of music, commemorations, exhibitions, community party spots, dinners, a grand ball, screenings, story-telling, recorded histories, guided walks. Twenty five events and activities in and around the Waitomo Glowworm Cave and Village. Most events are FREE. There is something going on for everyone, locals & visitors alike.

LIMESTONE, PEOPLE & TIME IS a nine day, dynamic programme of music, commemorations, exhibitions, community party spots, dinners, a grand ball, screenings, story-telling, recorded histories, guided walks. Twenty five events and activities in and around the Waitomo Glowworm Cave and Village. Most events are FREE. There is something going on for everyone, locals & visitors alike.

So come and join the party! Sat 6 September – Sunday 14 September 2014

Who would have thought that a hole in the ground could bring so much life and prosperity to Waitomo? In 1889 Tane Tinorau and Fred Mace opened the first guided tours of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to visitors – their enterprise would become a world-renown tourist attraction.

There is no doubt that we in the Waitomo district all owe a huge amount to the opening of the Glowworm Caves to visitors 125 year ago – the Caves, are a local and a national icon, generating huge interest and income.

125 years later we are still witnessing their popularity and the prosperity they generate; they have created a unique, internationally recognised, identity for Waitomo. We truly have much to appreciate and to celebrate.

Therefore three major partners and local supporters come together to celebrate the past, the present and the future of caving and life in Waitomo, in an inclusive, multi-cultural, community-wide celebration across 9 days in September 2014.

Highlights include: The Glowworm Ball at the Waitomo Caves Hotel, a Waitomo community gathering at Woodlyn Park, Four photographic/art exhibitions, a day-long commemoration event at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a Caves staff reunion, pub parties, a special lunch for older citizens, old Waitomo movies, storytelling, dinner, and a programmed youth space.

The message is one of appreciation, celebration, cooperation, prosperity, and future possibilities.

So, we will remember, appreciate and celebrate those early entrepreneurs and all the people since, who have worked to share the geological wonders of the area across the last 125 years, in the spirit of hospitality, welcoming and sharing (Manaakitanga). That is a lot of people!

And we will recognise and celebrate the millions of visitors from across the globe whose curiosity for nature’s underground worlds, glow-worms and the quiet dripping of time, led them to these Caves. We also acknowledge more recent entrepreneurs who opened access to further adventure to enhance the Waitomo visitor experience – all deserve recognition and appreciation.

Full information and updates will be posted on the Waitomo i-SITE website, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves website and The Ruapuha Uekaha Hapu trust site as well as the DOC site -just Google for access. A printed programme will soon be available from local i-SITES and local business outlets.

This is a scale of event and celebration not attempted before in the Waitomo Village, with a number of activities included in the hope that they will seed ongoing initiatives to add cultural, educational and social value to this small, dynamic, world famous community. Building value for local people and visitors alike is good for business and good for community.

We invite everyone to participate in the programme of celebrations – most events are free and for others there are very modest charges – bookings and ticketing are highly recommended at early-bird pricing through the Waitomo i-SITE from 15 August 2014. The celebration is initiated and very generously funded by the Ruapuha Uekaha Hapu Trust in partnership with The Department of Conservation and Tourism Holdings Ltd; it is supported by individuals and organisations in the Waitomo community. We have donations from several local family trusts. It is a not-for-profit community based initiative which has motivated broad community involvement and some long- term benefits.

An event programme will follow. It will be another great week to be in Waitomo.

Links for programme information and bookings

www.waitomocaves.com, www.waitomo.com, www.ruht.co.nz