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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Hot Springs, North Island

Tokaanu hot springs, at the south end of Lake Taupo, are located on flat ground beside the Tokaanu Stream. The active area is about 20 acres in extent, and includes two geysers. There are small hot springs on the lake shore at Waihi, and a number of strong fumaroles on the scarp above.

Geyser Valley at Wairakei includes many boiling springs and several geysers. Together with Waiora springs and Karapiti fumarole, the total area which includes warm spots is 7 sq. miles. Nearly 100 bores have been drilled and steam from these is used to generate 150 mW of electricity.

Rotokawa occupies about 400 acres between Lake Rotokawa and the Waikato River. It has hot springs, steaming ground, and a number of large holes formed by collapse due to underground chemical sapping. Sulphur has been mined here.

Orakeikorako hot springs, including a number of geysers, are scattered along the banks of the Waikato River for 2 miles. Many were drowned, and some higher ones have become more active with the filling of Lake Ohakuri. They are related to the Paeroa Fault, on which are located also Te Kopia and Waikite thermal areas.

Waiotapu hot springs spread over about 6 sq. miles, and include a number of lake-filled craters formed by steam explosions, some of which are on the flank of Rainbow Mountain. Investigation steam wells have been drilled there.

Rotomahana was the best known thermal area because of the famous Pink and White Terraces, destroyed in 1886 by the eruption of Tarawera. Hot springs remain in some of the other craters to the south-west. Waimangu Geyser erupted intermittently to a height of 1,000 ft between 1900 and 1917, when an eruption at the adjoining Frying Pan Flat opened up a new crater, now occupied by a hot lake known as the Waimangu boiling lake.

In Rotorua there are hot springs at Whakarewarewa and Ohinemutu, but all are related and more than 400 wells have been drilled for hot water in the city over an area of 3 sq. miles. Tikitere, from which some sulphur has been mined, occupies about 1 sq. mile.

Onepu springs near Kawerau, on the banks of the Tarawera River, have been drilled for steam for the Tasman Pulp Mill.

Hot springs associated with the Coromandel Ranges are related to older volcanic activity and include no boiling springs. The springs of South and North Auckland probably also have volcanic association. Isolated hot springs occur at Tarawera, Morere, Te Puia, and Puketitiri, east of the volcanic zone.