WHAKAREWAREWA is often abbreviated to "Whaka" by locals.
Whakarewarewa is the reduced version of "Te Whakarewarewatanga - o -
te - Ope - a - Waihiao", meaning "the uprising of the war party at
Waihiao". A war party assembled at the geyser area and performed a war
dance before going into action.
Whakarewarewa is approximately 3 kilometres from Rotorua, near the banks
of the Puarenga river. It is the best known geothermal site in Rotorua, and
probably the main place people go to see geysers, hot pools and mud pools.
Whakarewarewa is often visited for its 500 or so hot springs, many of which
are encased in what are called "sinter" pools - a porous encrustation
of silica or mineral deposit, which seems to take on different
hues (but which are generally white or gray). The area boasts the
largest geyser in the country, called Pohutu. It erupts about 15
times a day and climbs to around 90 feet in height.
In the 1980s, geothermal scientists found that the geyser activity here
was showing signs of a serious decline and blamed it on the hundreds of
bores that were tapping the geothermal resource in Rotorua. In 1986,
the Government demanded the closure of all geothermal bores within 1.5km
of Pohutu geyser and as a result of this, the water in the geothermal
aquifer has begun to rise back towards its natural level. The geyser
activity is recovering and now resembles its level in the 1970s.
The Maori Arts and Craft Centre is situated at Whakarewarewa and is
definitely worth a visit, not least for the wood carving activities. Near the
Centre is a Maori pa (fortified village) that's also worth investigating.
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