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Aerial view of Whakarewarewa; Pohutu Geyser is erupting.
Country New Zealand
City Rotorua Lakes
Electoral wardSouth
 (2018) [1]
Springfield Glenholme Ngāpuna
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Pfeil links.svgWhakarewarewaPfeil rechts.svg
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Whakarewarewa (reduced version of Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao, meaning The gathering place for the war parties of Wahiao, often abbreviated to Whaka by locals) is a Rotorua semi-rural geothermal area in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand. This was the site of the Māori fortress of Te Puia, first occupied around 1325, and known as an impenetrable stronghold never taken in battle. Māori have lived here ever since, taking full advantage of the geothermal activity in the valley for heating and cooking. [2]


Maori women washing clothes in a hot pool at Whakarewarewa in 1916 Women washing clothes in a hot pool at Whakarewarewa ATLIB 130438.png
Maori women washing clothes in a hot pool at Whakarewarewa in 1916

Whakarewarewa has some 500 pools, most of which are alkaline chloride hot springs, and at least 65 geyser vents, each with their own name. Seven geysers are currently active. Pohutu Geyser, meaning big splash or explosion, erupts approximately hourly to heights of up to 30 m (98 ft). [3]

Many of the thermal features at Whakarewarewa have been adversely affected by Rotorua residents taking advantage of the underlying geothermal fluids of the city by drawing shallow wells (20–200 m [66–656 ft] deep) to extract hot water for both domestic and commercial heating. A bore closure programme in 1987–1988 resulted in 106 wells within 1.5 km (0.93 mi) of Pohutu Geyser being cemented shut, with another 120 wells outside the radius being shut due to a punitive royalty charging regime. There has subsequently been a pronounced recovery in the geysers and hot springs at Whakarewarewa. [4]

The area features Te Pākira Marae and Wahiao meeting house, a meeting place of the Tūhourangi hapū of Ngāti Puta, Ngāti Uruhina, Ngāti Wāhiao, Tūhourangi and Ngāti Taoi. [5] [6]


Prince of Wales Feathers geyser erupting. Rotorua PoW.jpg
Prince of Wales Feathers geyser erupting.

Most of the currently active geysers at Whakarewarewa are located on Geyser Flat and aligned on a common fissure. This is a highly complex system, with the activity of one geyser affecting another.

Kereru Geyser, about 2 m (6 ft 7 in) above Puarenga Stream, located at the head of a small apron of blackish sinter, erupts every few days or weeks, in a fan-shaped jet 15 m (49 ft) high. No large eruptions occurred between 1972–1988, and it seems its recovery was directly linked to the sudden reduction of well drawoff in 1987. Kereru Geyser is probably independent of other springs on the fissure.

Geyser Flat WhakarewarewaGeyserFlat2.jpg
Geyser Flat

Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser, Pohutu Geyser, Te Horu Geyser (The Cauldron) and Waikorohihi Geyser are on a sinter plateau about 6 m (20 ft) above Puarenga Stream. Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser, Pohutu Geyser's closest neighbour, always precedes Pohutu, a feeble jet at first but gradually increasing in power until a continuous 9-metre-high (30 ft) column is ejected at an angle, when Pohutu usually erupts also. Sometimes Waikorohihi Geyser erupts a discontinuous 5-metre-high (16 ft 5 in) jet, then Prince of Wales Feathers will commence, later followed by Pohutu.

Until 1972, Te Horu Geyser erupted 2–7 m (10–20 ft) high as often as 10–15 times each day, but after that time eruptions and even boiling ceased. The water in Te Horu's vent began to overflow again in 1998. A very direct connection exists between Te Horu and Pohutu, with air-cooled water erupted from Pohutu largely falling in Te Horu's vent. This may explain the popular belief that Pohutu is more active when there is a south wind, because most erupted water is then blown away to the north, whereas with a north wind much is returned to cool the system and delay the next eruption.

Mahanga Geyser, also called the Boxing Glove, is an old geyser not known to erupt until 1961. Its 3–4.5-metre-high (9 ft 10 in – 14 ft 9 in) eruptions occur quite independently of its near neighbour Waikorohihi.

Wairoa Geyser, acclaimed as erupting 60 m (200 ft) high, last erupted naturally in December 1940 after which its water level fell to 4.5 m (15 ft) below overflow and the water became acidic. However, in early 1996, its water level rose to 3.2 m (10 ft) below overflow, with continuous powerful boiling, and it remains so to date.

Beyond Geyser Flat is Waikite Geyser, which forms the apex of a prominent sinter mound 260 m south of Pohutu. This last erupted in March 1967, and since then the vent has remained dry and weakly steaming. In June 1996, its previously 8.5 m (28 ft) deep and dry vent suddenly filled with boiling water which rose to within 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in) of overflow. In the past Waikite tended to erupt after prolonged periods of excessive rain, suggesting that the level of water in its vent is dependent on rainfall. It is hoped that Waikite may one day erupt again. Meanwhile, Pareia Geyser, just beyond Waikite, has recently reactivated.

Photograph of the Papakura Geyser in 1916 by Albert Percy Godber Papakura Geyser at Whakarewarewa, 1916 ATLIB 286394.png
Photograph of the Papakura Geyser in 1916 by Albert Percy Godber

Papakura Geyser is the other notable dormant geyser at Whakarewarewa, last erupting in September 2015 after a 110 year period during which it was known to have faltered very briefly only three times.[ clarification needed ] The cessation of eruptions from Papakura was directly responsible for initiating the Rotorua Monitoring Programme in 1981.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [1]

The statistical area of Tihiotonga-Whakarewarewa had a population of 771 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 96 people (14.2%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 42 people (-5.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 288 households. There were 390 males and 381 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.02 males per female. The median age was 43.2 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 117 people (15.2%) aged under 15 years, 144 (18.7%) aged 15 to 29, 378 (49.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 135 (17.5%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 59.1% European/Pākehā, 37.4% Māori, 1.9% Pacific peoples, 13.2% Asian, and 3.1% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 24.1%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 44.4% had no religion, 37.7% were Christian, 2.7% were Hindu, 0.8% were Muslim, 0.8% were Buddhist and 7.4% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 156 (23.9%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 96 (14.7%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $33,800, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 336 (51.4%) people were employed full-time, 93 (14.2%) were part-time, and 36 (5.5%) were unemployed. [1]


Whakarewarewa School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students, [7] with a roll of 140 as of July 2022. [8]


Related Research Articles

Geyser Hydrothermal explosion of hot water

A geyser is a spring characterized by an intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accompanied by steam. As a fairly rare phenomenon, the formation of geysers is due to particular hydrogeological conditions that exist only in a few places on Earth. Generally all geyser field sites are located near active volcanic areas, and the geyser effect is due to the proximity of magma. Generally, surface water works its way down to an average depth of around 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where it contacts hot rocks. The resultant boiling of the pressurized water results in the geyser effect of hot water and steam spraying out of the geyser's surface vent.

Geothermal areas of Yellowstone Geyser basins and other geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park

The geothermal areas of Yellowstone include several geyser basins in Yellowstone National Park as well as other geothermal features such as hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. The number of thermal features in Yellowstone is estimated at 10,000. A study that was completed in 2011 found that a total of 1,283 geysers have erupted in Yellowstone, 465 of which are active during an average year. These are distributed among nine geyser basins, with a few geysers found in smaller thermal areas throughout the Park. The number of geysers in each geyser basin are as follows: Upper Geyser Basin (410), Midway Geyser Basin (59), Lower Geyser Basin (283), Norris Geyser Basin (193), West Thumb Geyser Basin (84), Gibbon Geyser Basin (24), Lone Star Geyser Basin (21), Shoshone Geyser Basin (107), Heart Lake Geyser Basin (69), other areas (33). Although famous large geysers like Old Faithful are part of the total, most of Yellowstone's geysers are small, erupting to only a foot or two. The hydrothermal system that supplies the geysers with hot water sits within an ancient active caldera. Many of the thermal features in Yellowstone build up sinter, geyserite, or travertine deposits around and within them.

Pink and White Terraces Large silica sinter deposits in New Zealand destroyed in 1886 volcanic eruption

The Pink and White Terraces, were natural wonders of New Zealand. They were reportedly the largest silica sinter deposits on earth. Until recently, they were lost and thought destroyed in the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera, while new hydrothermal features formed to the south-west i.e. Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Tarawera</span> Volcano in New Zealand

Mount Tarawera is a volcano on the North Island of New Zealand within the older but volcanically productive Ōkataina Caldera. Located 24 kilometres southeast of Rotorua, it consists of a series of rhyolitic lava domes that were fissured down the middle by an explosive basaltic eruption in 1886. This eruption was one of New Zealand's largest historical eruptions, and killed an estimated 120 people. The fissures run for about 17 kilometres northeast-southwest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Tongariro</span> Compound Volcano in New Zealand

Mount Tongariro is a compound volcano in the Taupō Volcanic Zone of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the southwest of Lake Taupō, and is the northernmost of the three active volcanoes that dominate the landscape of the central North Island.

Waimangu Geyser Extinct geyser in New Zealand

The Waimangu Geyser, located near Rotorua in New Zealand, was for a time the most powerful geyser in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orakei Korako</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Te Arawa</span> Confederation of Māori iwi and hapū (tribes and sub-tribes)

Te Arawa is a confederation of Māori iwi and hapu of New Zealand who trace their ancestry to the Arawa migration canoe (waka). The tribes are based in the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty areas and have a population of around 40,000.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley</span> Volcanic Valley in New Zealand

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Tūhourangi is a Māori iwi of New Zealand with a rohe centered on Lake Tarawera, Lake Rotomahana, Lake Okaro, Lake Okareka, Lake Rotokākahi, Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotorua.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pōhutu Geyser</span>

Pōhutu Geyser is a geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, Rotorua, in the North Island of New Zealand. The geyser is the largest in the southern hemisphere and among the most active in the area, erupting up to twenty times per day at heights of up to 30 m (98 ft). The name Pōhatu is derived from te reo Māori, although it has an unclear etymology – being translated as either 'big splash', 'explosion' or 'constant splashing'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tikitere</span> Rural locality in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

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Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand

The Bay of Plenty is a region of New Zealand, situated around a bight of the same name in the northern coast of the North Island. The bight stretches 260 km from the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east. The Bay of Plenty Region, governed by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, incorporates several large islands in the bay, in addition to the mainland area. Called Te Moana-a-Toi in the Māori language after Toi, an early ancestor, the name 'Bay of Plenty' was bestowed by James Cook in 1769 when he noticed the abundant food supplies at several Māori villages there, in stark contrast to observations he had made earlier in Poverty Bay.

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Margaret Pattison Staples-Browne, often known as Maggie Papakura or Mākereti Papakura, was a New Zealand guide, entertainer and ethnographer. Of Pākehā and Māori descent, she was of Te Arawa and Tūhourangi iwi.

Alfred Warbrick Rugby player

Alfred Patchett Warbrick was a New Zealand boatbuilder, rugby player and tourist guide. Of Māori descent, he identified with the Ngāti Rangitihi and Te Arawa iwi.

Te Keepa Te Rangi-pūawhe

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Mita Taupopoki was a notable Māori tribal leader of New Zealand. He identified with Ngāti Wāhiao, a hapū (subtribe) of the Tūhourangi iwi of Te Arawa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sophia Hinerangi</span>

Sophia Hinerangi was a New Zealand tourist guide and temperance leader. Of Māori descent, she identified with the Ngāti Ruanui iwi.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera</span>

In 1886, a violent eruption occurred at Mount Tarawera, near the city of Rotorua on New Zealand's North Island. At an estimated Volcanic Explosivity Index of 5, the eruption is the largest and deadliest in New Zealand during the past 500 years, which includes the entirety of European history in New Zealand. The eruption began in the early hours of 10 June 1886 and lasted for approximately 6 hours, causing a 10-kilometre-high (6.2 mi) ash column, earthquakes, lightning, and explosions to be heard as far away as Blenheim in the South Island — more than 500 kilometers away. A 17-kilometre-long (11 mi) rift formed across the mountain and surrounding area during the eruption, starting from the Wahanga peak at the mountain's northern end and extending in a southwesterly direction, through Lake Rotomahana and forming the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.


  1. 1 2 3 "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Tihiotonga-Whakarewarewa (201300). 2018 Census place summary: Tihiotonga-Whakarewarewa
  2. Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 411. ISBN   0-89577-087-3.
  3. "Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley". Archived from the original on 17 April 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
  4. "Chemistry of the Rotorua Geothermal Field Part 3: Hydrology" (PDF). Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  5. "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  6. "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  7. "Ministry of Education School Profile". educationcounts.govt.nz. Ministry of Education.
  8. "Education Review Office Report". ero.govt.nz. Education Review Office.

Coordinates: 38°9′44″S176°15′23″E / 38.16222°S 176.25639°E / -38.16222; 176.25639