At Evolve Rotorua we’ve been interested in this recent report from the New Zealand Initiative, which shines a light on untapped opportunities for our city.

The New Zealand Initiative report; ‘Living after Midnight: For a better night-time environment’ says “New Zealand’s way of regulating nightlife often restricts the opportunities for night owls. This has made nights overly tedious without improving issues of public health and security.”

Members of Evolve Rotorua have been discussing what the benefits could be for our town in increasing our nightlife. A big reason why people feel less safe at night is because there are less people around – policies which encourage more nighttime business actually helps to address issues of public health and security. Over regulating opening times and the like doesn’t work – supporting a modern nighttime culture that builds our social and economic opportunities is good for our city.

Rotorua has over 3.3 million visitors per year, many of these tourists have nothing to do after 9pm thanks to regulatory framework which discourages nighttime activities.

Most spaces are designed with daylight hours in mind, any future development should consider how the space feels at night for both safety and business opportunities in mind. If we want to build a strong inner-city, which Evolve Rotorua is very supportive of, we need to think about what happens after-hours too.

The report notes: “Only 10% of people in New Zealand’s cities feel “very safe” in their city centre after dark. The only way to change this is to have more people out on the streets at night. Backstreet corners and shadowy figures do not disappear by sending clubbers home.”

The New Zealand Initiative report has three main proposals:

First, appointing a night mayor ensures that all relevant interests are heard, whereas today, the benefits of nightlife are often left out of the conversation.

Second, local policies to enable local visions for nightlife should be set up in a fruitful way. Incentives for the authorities would especially increase in a more decentralised framework.

Third, issues of public health should be tackled with specific programmes to help people in need of help instead of inconveniencing the rest of the population.

For more information about the report, see: