Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort was opened by the new Prime Minster of New Zealand, Mr John Key just one week before the national elections that swept the National Party to Government. John Key , then the leader of the National Party cut the ribbon to the entrance of the Resort to formally open the new $10 million complex in front of many invited local Rotorua tourism operators, respected elders of Ngati Rangiteaorere and parliamentarians. Mr Key enjoyed the opportunity to meet all invitees and struck up an instant connection with the many tourism operators present.
Mr key impressed all present with his keen interest in the facility, especially the underlying themes that the new Resort was highlighting such as the contemporary interpretation of Maori healing therapies in a modern spa setting and implementation of the hosting concepts encapsulated within "Manakitanga".
During his address to those gathered at the opening Mr Key made it clear that he believed that the Tourism Industry was vital to the New Zealand economy and deserved to be lead by a more senior member of cabinet than had been the case to date. He made a promised to the invitees that a very highly ranked member of Cabinet would taken on the portfolio of Minister of Tourism to ensure that the importance of the industry was given the due recognition that it deserved.
John lived up to his promised made at the opening of the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort ,when taking up his role of Prime Minister in the new Government ,by announcing that he would assume the role of Minister of Tourism. The most senior ranked Minister of Tourism in cabinet in the history of New Zealand.