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The Te Aroha hot springs (mainly in the nineteenth century)

Unique amongst New Zealand mining districts, the hot springs sited at the base of the mountain were popular with miners, residents, and an increasing number of visitors. Highly valued by Maori for their medicinal qualities, Pakeha visited them well before gold was discovered. Acquired by the Crown as part of the purchase of the Aroha Block, contention arose over whether the springs had been gifted to the Crown and whether Maori should be charged for using them. The provision of a small but free bath to Ngati Rahiri did not satisfy them. After Pakeha settled, the springs were developed and the surrounding domain was landscaped. Analysis of the water by experts produced claims about its curative qualities and many miracle cures were claimed, and the water was bottled until more recent analyses traced the existence of arsenic. Men reputedly skilled in hydropathy and similar ‘sciences’ were appointed to assist those suffering from rheumatism and the like. A local board beautified the area until the domain was taken over by the Tourist Department. Many tourists from throughout New Zealand and abroad were attracted by the facilities, which included a library, but some noticed a lack of cleanliness and were annoyed by larrikins. Despite such problems, as mining faded Te Aroha profited from becoming a tourist destination and sanatorium.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). The Te Aroha hot springs (mainly in the nineteenth century). (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 5), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart

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