Local Focus: Another love book for Rotorua's Vishal Sharma

To some locals, he's known as the I-Love-Rotorua man.

It was love at first sight when Vishal Sharma moved to the region with his family 10 years ago.

His passion and love for the city have spilled over into a series of books about some of the region's favourite destinations and the famous love story between Tūtānekai and Hinemoa.

To help fund his third book, aptly titled I Love Rotorua, Sharma has taken on a new job delivering fruit and veges.

"I'm doing all that hard work and that's my love and my passion for our town," he said.

He was raised by his grandmother in India.

"We say we need to all have one discipline in our life - and my discipline - the whole credit - I'll give it to my grandmother."

"I'm from a Hindu family and my grandmother was a very strong God believer."

"So, she taught me one thing. If you start your day with positivity and you have got three things in your personality: you're truthful to everyone, you're committed in your life and you share your things with other people you meet in your life.

"That's the key to success."

Sharma says his upbringing was similar to the way Māori people in the region live and, for him, Aotearoa has become his home away from home.

"There's one very specific incident that I remember when I was a little kid.

"During the school holidays I was with all my cousins and my nan was cooking something for all of us.

"I'm from a little place in comparison to the cities in India.

"When we got out of the house there were around 10/15 more kids because it was during the school holidays and they all were playing.

"When we got out of the house, my grandmother was with me and we were all sharing that food.

"My grandmother told me if you share then you care for other people and that's the key.

"The food is a very good connection. It connects you to a lot of people in your life.

"Sharing is a habit that we should all have in our personality because if we share and care, then there will be nothing wrong on this planet," he said.

Long-time friend Amanda McGrath says Sharma is one-of-a-kind.

"Vishal is a very passionate person and about anything that he loves, namely Rotorua.

"He is a champion of Rotorua.

"He just exudes this quality I think that so many more people in Rotorua could have and he just loves Rotorua, and that comes out in so many different aspects of his life."

The I Love Rotorua Man is now hoping the community he is so passionate about will help him to publish his book this year.


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