In 1911 The Salvation Army opened Rotoroa Island as a rehabilitation facility for alcoholics. Rotoroa Island was the first and longest running addiction treatment centre, proudly serving over 12,000 New Zealanders. During this period Rotoroa Island was largely self sufficient; an early model of self-sustainability. Vegetable gardens, working farms and sprawling orchards provided plenty of fresh food to the island's occupants.
Deciding that life beyond an isolated island - no matter how beautiful - was crucial to the ongoing successful treatment of addiction in 21st century society, The Salvation Army disestablished Rotoroa Island's alcohol and drug rehabilitation services in 2005, continuing its work through community based Salvation Army Bridge programmes on the mainland. Four years later, The Rotoroa Island Trust was established. The Trust then purchased a 99-year lease from the Salvation Army and - along with dedicated partners and volunteers - has been working tirelessly to restore this unique island and reopen it to the public.
A state-of-the-art visitor centre and museum now showcases the island's fascinating history-from its Maori and early European history through to its many years in private isolation as New Zealand's first and longest running addiction treatment centre.
Rotoroa Island Documentary: A Legacy of Salvation Continues (Borderless Productions).