Amaze-ing Rotorua icon to reopen
Wonderworld Amazement Park a family affair for new owners
On December 1, the doors to Rotorua’s famous Tikitere maze will reopen under the name: Wonderworld Amazement Park. New owners and lifetime puzzle enthusiasts Chris and Fiona Callander promise visiting families both challenges and fun, with surprises for even experienced maze runners.
“It’s what the community needs,” says Chris.
“An interactive place for families to get out and about, exploring and experiencing wonder together.”
An electrician by trade, Chris has enjoyed the “challenge” of mazes for as long as he can remember.
His own record time for getting through the maze at Tikitere is six minutes.
So when Chris and his wife, Fiona Callander, saw Rotorua’s iconic 3D Maze was up for sale at the end of 2021, the Tauranga couple decided to “give it a go”.
Since then, renovating the maze has been a challenge happily taken on by the whole Callander family.
Chris’ dad, a retired builder, and the Callanders’ three teenage children have all lent a hand in painting, repairing and remodelling.
“[The maze] needed some love and attention,” Chris said.
Chris described the maze as an icon for Rotorua, having been in business for more than 40 years before it closed due to challenges caused by Covid-19 in 2021.
But it did need improvements.
“When we reopen I think people will see it’s fresh and modern.”
The brightest difference to the maze is the addition of a tall, multicoloured sculpture the Callanders call, “The Tower of Wonder”.
“There’s 12 figures in the tower for the 12 people in our family,” Chris explained.
“It kind of represents for what we’re doing all this for: family fun and bonding.”
The Callanders have also made changes to the layout of the maze to give visitors new challenges.
“We’ve moved a few walls around,” Chris said. “So it will be different from what some people remember.”
There will be QR codes at different points of the maze and a timer will give maze runners the pressure of a little extra competition.
“They’ll have the chance to beat overall records or the daily record.”
There’s 12 figures in the tower for the 12 people in our family. It kind of represents for what we’re doing all this for: family fun and bonding.
Chris’ own record time for getting through the maze is 6 minutes.
Fiona, an early childhood educator with 20 years’ experience, said it might take 10-year-olds a bit longer on their first go.
“I think the current record is about 16 minutes. But that would be tough to beat.”