Te Arawa: Nga kōrero ā rohe

Te Puni Kōkiri Te Arawa has worked with Te Kupenga Charitable Trust to strengthen their governance and management and complete a feasibility study of their assets.The Trust is looking at diversifying into enterprises using the hapū assets. Assets like cultural knowledge, natural resources (land, flora and water) and people to develop enterprises that will lead to sustainable employment for hapū members.

A research study looked at opportunities to use the geothermal and natural resources for non-traditional land use for high yield land use apart from forestry and farming.

The Trust then began developing the land into a resort style spa utilising the geothermal waters, mud and traditional healing remedies. Cascading spa pools have been developed using the contours of the land while landscaping enhances these pools into a more natural setting. The temperatures of the pools will vary so that customers are able to get the maximum enjoyment from the use of the pools.

The Silica Terraces have been specifically landscaped to look natural within the settings of the grounds. A natural geyser at the apex of the terraces flows down leaving silica deposits to cover each of the various steps of the terraces and the natural and various colours are due to the water temperature, natural organisms and fungi within the water.

From the terraces the water then flows into bathing pools of various temperatures. The pools have been built so that wheelchair access is possible for elderly and disabled people.

Bathing pools Wairākei Terraces

The bathing pools are at Wairākei north of Taupō. Once the pools are fully operational it will employ an additional 10 staff.

Wairākei Terraces and Te Kupenga Charitable Trust provide a wide range of services and activities. An onsite Private Training Enterprise (NETCOR NZ Education & Tourism Corporation) offers courses in Mental Health (Mental Health Support) National Certificate, Outdoor Recreation (Group Leadership) National Certificate, Raranga certificate and whakairo.

Whakairo tutors and students have undertaken restoration work for Tūwharetoa Marae and completed whakairo for local businesses in the area. The training enterprise works closely with the local Ministry of Social Development office to transition long term unemployed into employment which includes up-skilling clients, some have become employees within the Wairākei Terraces and Te Kupenga.

Other activities at the site will include mirimiri and the use of rongoā some of which will be grown and harvested at the centre.

Currently Wairākei Terraces provides nature bush walks through the entire complex and the whaikairo training centre. Cultural concerts and hangi are offered every Wednesday and Sunday evenings and large groups are able to make a booking for other days.

Schools have used the facilities as a camp and cultural experience with whare within the complex that allow for students to stay onsite in purpose made punga whare.

An official opening for the redeveloped Wairākei Terrace will take place later in 2011.

Wairākei Terraces (Ngāti Tūwharetoa-Rauhoto, Ruingarangi, Te Urunga, Te Kapa o Te Rangiita, Ngāti Tahu) clinched a special Commendation for Excellence in hapū strategic planning in the sector of Māori tourism, at the 2010 Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Business Leaders Awards held by the University of Auckland Business School in March 2011.

A number of hapū within the rohe of Tūwharetoa affiliate to the whenua at Wairākei Terraces.

Tarawera Trail

Tuhourangi and Ngāti Hinemihi are working with the Conservation Department and their community to develop the Tarawera Trail which winds around Tarawera and its lakes.

The concept of the Tarawera Trail is to build a high-quality, multi-day walk in a natural landscape of world heritage quality.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) will be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Trail. It is the largest capital works project currently on the Bay of Plenty conservancy books.

The project has been divided into three separate stages, covering a total of 42 kilometres. Stage One has been approved in principle with $1.5million from the National Capital Funding Pool. Construction was scheduled to begin in October 2009 for 18 months.

Stage One involves the first 11 kilometres of the trail and is set to cross over five Māori-owned land blocks. The nature of Māori freehold land means that in most instances they are administered by a Board of Trustees. Three of the blocks have established boards. With the assistance of the Māori Land Court, trusts for the remaining two blocks were set up and trustees elected. All five trusts have entered into formal agreements with DOC to allow the trail cross their whenua.

Tarawera – the lake and the mountain provide a spectacular backdrop for the Tarawera Trail. Tarawera is one of three domes that make up Mt Tarawera with Wāhanga, Ruawāhia and Tarawera having significance to Ngāti Rangitihi, Tūhourangi and Ngāti Hinemihi. Māori have long considered Tarawera to be a sacred site. Ngāti Rangitihi, Tūhourangi and Ngāti Hinemihi, lived in the vicinity of the mountain and on the shores of the lake.Their tūpuna occupied the Tarawera basin until the devastation wrought by the eruption of Mt Tarawera on 10 June 1886. Their tūpuna are also considered to have pioneered cultural tourism in Rotorua and Aotearoa.

Rotorua continues to attract large numbers of international and domestic visitors. Wally Tangohau, Regional Director for Te Puni Kōkiri Te Arawa says: “The area’s commitment to and development of the tourism industry is unsurpassed and the industry continues to grow, diversify and develop.”

The Tarawera Trail was proposed around a number of factors all of which have a bearing on the extent to which it can enhance the region’s heritage quality, distinguished in its presentation and focus by tangata whenua cultural character and developed and managed to demonstrate principles of environmental sustainability and collaborative management. The influencing factors continue to be:

  • Responding to cultural, environmental and natural heritage issues,
  • Maintaining the integrity of tangata whenua values,
  • Enhancing the empowerment of tangata whenua in the Te Arawa Lakes catchment,
  • The growth and development of the wellness and tourism industry

The Trail and associated ventures has considerable potential to provide sustainable enterprise and employment outcomes for participating land trusts and their beneficiaries. Earlier work, market demand and financial analysis, confirm viability of the proposed new business in tourism for Te Arawa.

Features of the Tarawera Trail

Welcomes the opportunity for visitors and locals to enjoy the environment and landscape that the Te Arawa Lakes district has to offer.

Contributes to the wellbeing industry in the Rotorua area and builds on the growing demand for products and services to proactively help people stay healthier, look better and feel good about themselves

Rotorua is renowned globally and nationally as well as locally as a spa destination and the trail will be the first step in promoting the Tarawera catchment in particular as a world class spa destination.

The Tarawera Trail trustees are Tāwhiri Morehu, Herbie Langendeon, Te Ohu Wikingi, Rāwiri Daniels and, Robert Te Aonui (pictured).

Stage 1 of the trail starts at Te Wairoa Valley (behind the Buried Village on Tarawera Road, Rotorua) and will end at the Te Ariki isthmus. This initial stage will traverse 11 kilometres through regenerated bush across both Māori land and conservation land.

The trail is expected to be opened to the general public in 2011 however an official date has not yet been set.