While most Kiwis slumbered through the night, millions of viewers on the other side of the world awoke on February 3, early morning to the stirring sounds of pōhiri, and the sights of geothermal mist rising from Te Whakarewarewa Valley, live on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
“Good Morning America” is the most-watched breakfast TV show in the United States, attracting more than three million viewers every day.
The live broadcast from Te Puia is part of a feature on Aotearoa New Zealand, highlighting the country as an unforgettable visitor destination that offers adventure, natural wonders, and contemporary Māori culture.
Their coverage includes visits to Queenstown, Fiordland, and Auckland among others, with Te Puia being one of only two live broadcast locations in New Zealand.
Renowned journalist and “Good Morning America” co-anchor, Robin Roberts, arrived in Aotearoa this week, and led the live broadcast overnight from 1am NZ time at Te Puia.
When asked by “Good Morning America” producers where in the world she had not been, but wanted to go, “New Zealand” was her immediate answer.
“I am so excited, it has been on my bucket list of places to visit,” Ms Roberts says.
The theme of the Te Puia broadcast was showcasing its immersive cultural legacy – and Chief Executive Tim Cossar says there was no shortage of stories the producers wanted to tell.
“Everyone here has a personal connection to this place. The production team met many who shared their stories, but there were far too many to cover in one live broadcast!”
A large number of Te Puia and NZMACI kaimahi have been involved in the broadcast, from weeks of set-up, through to live interviews where they provided the North American audience with a glimpse of the manaakitanga they’re known for.
The logistics and planning alone to move multiple teams and equipment halfway around the world has been no small undertaking.
“Add in the disruption caused by the recent weather events, and the production became an even more complex puzzle,” Mr Cossar says.“It is a privilege to be able to open the doors to international manuhiri once more. Te Puia has shared its cultural and natural taonga (treasures) with manuhiri for more than 170 years and we proudly continue that tradition today.
“Te Puia is part of Rotorua’s fabric and we are deeply passionate about our role in shining a light on Māori culture, where Te Puia has come from and where we are heading.
“This morning, our people, traditions and culture made their way into the homes of millions of Americans and we are beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to remind them – and the world – what makes us so special.”
Mr Cossar says Te Puia has spent the past three COVID years not only reinvigorating its offerings, but growing its brand internationally, forging strong relationships along the way.
“As our international manuhiri return, we want them to know that we’re not only still standing, but we have come out of COVID stronger and with even more to manaakitanga to give.”
This latest spotlight on Te Puia and Rotorua’s unique cultural and geographic landscape comes off the back of Forbes magazine naming the city one of the top 50 places to visit in 2023