Waitomo is a Maori word made up of two parts. ‘Wai‘ which translates as water and ‘tomo‘ which means entrance or hole. Waitomo can be translated as the ‘stream which flows into the hole in the ground‘. This meaning is reflected through its fantastic geological history and landscape, however it also has a rich tourism and cultural history. As a region it is one of New Zealand’s original tourist destinations.
The Waitomo District, encompassing the main town and service centre of Te Kuiti and the townships of Waitomo, Mokau, PioPio, Awakino, Marokapa and Benneydale amongst others, is home to around 9,700 people. The prosperous local economy is built around tourism, farming, mining and forestry.