Story: Thermal pools and spas

Bathing at the White Terrace

Bathing at the White Terrace

Before the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, the Pink and White Terraces at Rotomahana were a spectacular tourist attraction. The terraces had natural silica basins in which you could bathe. When English novelist Anthony Trollope sampled one of the pools in the early 1870s he wrote, ‘The baths are … like vast open shells, the walls of which are concave, and the lips ornamented in a thousand forms … I have never heard of other bathing like this in the world.’ Here, three men (a Pākehā and two Māori) share a bath at the White Terrace, about 1880. Racially mixed bathing was unusual in the late 19th century.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, West Indies and New Zealand Album (PA1-q-265)
Reference: PA1-q-265-35-1

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Thermal pools and spas - A valued resource', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 January 2022)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 12 Jun 2006