In December 1952 the Rotorua public were treated to an authentic American style barbecue held at the Rotorua Borough Motor Camp (also known as the Municipal Motor Camp).
It is believed that this was the first time a barbecue had been attempted in Rotorua on a large public scale. Mr. A. Mackey, an American who run the camping ground store supervised the cooking.
The steaks were dipped in a special sauce that sealed the meat to retain its natural juices and flavour. After being dipped in sauce the steaks were barbecued on grill plates over flames. The cooked steaks were served with another special sauce, Boston beans, potato salad, tomatoes and lettuce.
Those who attended also participated in line dancing.
The Rotorua Motor Camp is Rotorua's longest running camp ground. Today it is known as the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park. The camping ground was originally located on the corner of Devon and Ranolf Streets.
|Wises Borough of Rotorua, 1935. Courtesy of Kete Rotorua|
|Source: Auckland Weekly News, 12 January 1938, p. 52. Courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19380112-52-2|
|Source: Auckland Weekly News, 23 December 1936, p. 49. Courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19361223-49-2|
The council run camping ground opened around 1929. According to Peggy Allen's book Rotorua people 1880s to 1940s: living south of the old railway: Glenholme area to Whakarewarewa, the land was originally known as Steele's 40 acres.
In around 1953 the camping ground moved to 469 Old Taupo Road, opposite the Arikikapakapa-Rotorua Golf Course, where it is still operating today under private ownership.
If you have any memories / photos of camping in Rotorua or enjoying a barbecue please add them to Kete, an online community space.
This post was written by Graeme. With thanks to information from The Rotorua Post, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Kete Rotorua, and Rotorua people 1880s to 1940s: living south of the old railway: Glenholme area to Whakarewarewa (Peggy Allen, 1996).