New Zealand’s hottest spot: Rotorua

Rotorua has a unique history and Maori culture making it a great place to experience New Zealand’s geothermal wonderland.

Maori legend and history

New Zealand’s geothermal region that stretches through Rotorua has great cultural significance. Ngatoroirangi, a spiritual leader from Hawaiki was exploring the area on the Te Arawa canoe on Lake Taupo and decided to climb a mountain he saw after glancing upon its magnitude and splendour (Tongaririo and Mt Ruapehu).

He ordered that his fellow travellers did not eat while he was away so that the gods would give them strength whilst he and his slave Aruhoe made their journey. Upon their return they would enjoy a feast.

Ngatoroirangi and Aruhoe braved a dangerous journey through freezing conditions and the others did not think they would return and began to eat. Ngatoroirangi prayed and his sisters sent fire demons to warm their brother.

The fire demons Te Pupu and Te Hoata swam the Pacific Ocean and under the earth to Ngatoroirangi creating a fiery trail throughout the North Island as they travelled. They came to Ngatoroirangi’s aid and warmed him; sadly Aruhoe had perished.

The geothermal region of the North Island was created by the fire demons and now contributes to the geysers, steam vents and mud pools of Rotorua and the Te Arawa tribe is the regions guardian.

Rotorua’s name comes from the Maori words Roto (lake) and Rua (two).

Geothermal history

New Zealand’s location along the Pacific Ring of Fire has contributed to the geothermal activity. The North Island’s geothermal area is known as the “Taupo Volcanic Zone,” which was formed by the thousands of years of volcanic activity.

The area stretches from Mt Ruapehu to White Island and contains active volcanoes, geysers, mud pools and hot springs, all of which contribute to the unique aspects of Rotorua.

Rotorua’s unique geothermal properties can be experienced at Polynesian Spa when you take a dip in the mineral pools or enjoy a massage therapy treatment that utilises Rotorua mud and other local products.

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