Te Aroha was officially born with the opening of the Waiorongomai Goldfields in 1880. The hot springs along with the surrounding land was gifted to the Crown as a reserve by local Maori Chief Te Mokena Hau in 1882.
When the curative values of the spring water was discovered by Europeans a bore was sunk, resulting in a geyser of hot soda water…the only one of its kind in the world. It was named the Mokena Geyser, in honour of the Maori chief.
The 1880s saw the Domain planted out and promoted in the fashion of the European Spas. Te Aroha became the first geothermal spa town to annually receive thousands of visitors, many traveling by boat and train to ‘take the waters’. As its popularity continued the area of the Domain was increased by the purchase of adjoining land from the Morgan and Lipsey families. This expanded the recreation resource to include a network of walking tracks and indigenous forest.
The Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain is unique in that it is the only complete Edwardian Domain in New Zealand. Our natural mineral water is the reason for the revival of interest in spa treatments; part of a global trend.
The word ‘Spa’ – Salus per Aquam or healing through waters, refers to the therapeutic benefits of mineral water bathing and drinking. Modernised to resort standard, the Te Aroha Mineral Spa baths retain their charm of yesteryear.