TE AROHA MOUNTAIN
Te Aroha, a dark, bush-clad mountain, 3,126 ft high, is the highest peak at the southern end of the Coromandel Ranges. It was early recognised by Hochstetter (q.v) as an andesitic volcano that has been extinct for many, many thousands of years. It rises steeply from the eastern edge of the Hauraki Lowlands and thus from its western side forms a striking landmark that is often shrouded in mist. Perhaps its peculiar beauty led the Maori to call it Te Aroha, a name that could be interpreted as “the loved one”. There are, however, more romantic legends that explain how the mountain was named.
Subsequent to the volcanic activity, hot mineral waters deposited the quartz of the prominent Buck Reef, which has been traced through the centre of the mountain for 3 miles north of Waiorongomai and which in places stands as a 200-ft-high wall. Although the Buck Reef itself was usually barren, the associated cross reefs have yielded more than 57,000 oz of gold. Precious metals are no longer mined, but there is still some prospecting for the base metals, principally lead.
Hot carbonate and other mineral waters still continue to rise and are used for bathing and drinking at the Te Aroha Spa at the western foot of the mountain.