Rotu is notable for being the first tribe in the series' history to have an extensive winning streak. They worked hard at camp, putting focus on getting chores done rather than having fun. Their tribe color is light blue.
On paper, it would seem that Rotu would be the weaker of the two tribes, because they had the oldest contestant in the game and the majority of its members were over 35, as opposed to the younger, more fit members of the rival Maraamu tribe. However, the blue tribe would go on to win the first six challenges, and did not have to attend Tribal Council until Day 15. Despite this, avoiding Tribal Council had some side effects, with its members getting fed up with each other, namely Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, who quickly became an outsider for being too pushy about work ethic. On the other hand, Paschal English established a father-children relationship with Gabriel Cade and Neleh Dennis.
After a tribe switch on Day 13, Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal were sent to the Maraamu tribe, while three Maraamu members—Rob Mariano, Sean Rector, and Vecepia Towery—became new members of Rotu. Meanwhile, an opportunistic alliance of four—John Carroll, Robert DeCanio, Tammy Leitner, and Zoe Zanidakis—emerged. The four agreed to continue diminishing the rival tribe by eliminating their new tribemates. After winning yet another Immunity Challenge, the tribe finally tasted defeat when the tiny tribe of Maraamu (who was now down to only four members, while Rotu was still complete with eight) won the next Reward Challenge, earning them the right to raid the rival tribe's camp. The raid proved fatal to Rotu, as Maraamu had stolen most of their food and supplies. This difference showed the most during the Day 14 Immunity Challenge, where the tribes had to create a distress signal. Rotu's lack of materials affected the creativeness of their signal, while the other tribe used the stolen items to full advantage. This sent Rotu to their first Tribal Council.
The Rotu Four alliance wanted to push through with their original plan of voting their new tribemates out, but they wavered when they saw Gabriel, the only original Rotu member still on the tribe that was not part of the alliance, as a threat, because he could potentially side with the new members, enforcing a tie vote. However, Gabriel had stated that he signed for the show not to win, but just for the experience. This caused his unanimous elimination.
After voting out Gabriel, John felt very good about his alliance's position in the game. The fissure between the two alliances hurt Rotu after losing its third challenge in a row in a closely fought Reward Challenge. Knowing that his scheming had put him in danger, Rob led Rotu to a comeback win, sending Maraamu back to Tribal Council one last time, bringing Rotu into the merge with a 7 to 3 member advantage over Maraamu.
On Day 19, Rotu and Maraamu were merged after a summit, forming the new Soliantu tribe. The new tribe stayed at Rotu's beach for the rest of the game.
- When the tribes merged, all ten members of Soliantu had been on Rotu at some point in the game.
- Rotu is the first tribe to be able to sit three members out for a challenge. On a similar note, it is also the first to be able to sit four members out, meaning that the four who had participated in a Reward Challenge had to sit out in the Immunity Challenge.
- Gabriel Cade is the only member of Rotu to be voted out pre-merge.
- Rotu became the first tribe to win six challenges in a row.
- Rotu is the first starting tribe to secure all but one jury seats.
- Rotu is the first tribe to not produce the winner, nor lose all its members before the Final Tribal Council.
- Rotu is the first tribe to have all its female members reach the merge.