"Whakarewarewa" Whakarewarewa by seagoingJLW

Whakarewarewa Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 29 photos

A Day with KIWI

VT's KIWI (Pam Gore) met us at the dock in Tauranga and took us up to Rotorua where we went to Whakarewarewa.

Take a look at the two travelogues on my Rotorua page.

A Day with KIWI


and this one:

More with KIWI

This is a magnificent thermal area.

The people of Te Arawa were the guardians of the thermal region of New Zealand. This right came from the early exploration of Ngatoroirangi - the famous Tohunga (spiritual leader) of the Arawa canoe. The spouting hot geysers, the mud pools and the volcanic fire are all the result of Ngatoroirangi and his actions.

Ngatoroirangi left his first landing spot of Maketu on the coast and travelled south and inland. While he rested one day on the eastern side of Lake Taupo, the clouds rolled away and he caught sight of the gleaming beauty of Mount Tongariro. He was overwhelmed by its majesty and he ached to climb its summit. After travelling closer, he ordered his companions to stay put while he and his slave, Aruhoe climbed the virgin peak. He said 'This is a hazardous venture, and if, I am to return safely, you who remain must heed my words well. Eat no food. This will give me the strength I need and the gods will stay with me. When I return we will feast together and I will tell you of the things I learn from the mountain.' Indeed the journey was hazardous. The snowy air froze their breath and iced their fingers, numbed their toes and stiffened their joints. The slave, Aruhoe stumbled many times but Ngatoroirangi urged him onward. Meanwhile, those waiting at the mountain's feet grew weary and hungry. 'He may have perished and we wait in vain', said one. 'Hunger is an impatient thing,' said another. So, with sidelong glances at the mountain, they lit their cooking fires and ate. But with their actions, the cold drove its icy fingers into Ngatoroirangi's heart. He bent over in agony caused by the stabbing cold and prayed to his sisters in Hawaiki (the original home of all Maori which they left to come to New Zealand) ' Send fire to warm me?' he cried. 'Do not delay or I will surely perish. Oh Kuiwai, Oh Haungaroa came quickly. Ka riro au I te tonga?" (I am carried away by the cold south wind). Far off in Hawaiki, his sisters heard his prayer. They called to the fire demons Te Pupu and Te Hoata, who plunged into the sea and swam quickly until they came to Whakaari (White Island as the fiery inferno off the Eastern Bay of Plenty is known to the European). As they lifted their heads in to the air, the earth burst in to flames which have never died down. They saw as they rose, that they still had many miles to go to reach Ngatoro. Down they went once more into the seas and a steaming bubbling wake they left in their path. At Moutohora they surfaced once more, at Okakaru, Rotoehu, Rotoiti, Rotorua, Tarawera, Orakei Korako and Taupo. At each place they popped up, flames left throughout the surface. The tunnel they made forever more connected Tongariro to White Island. Like a flash of lightening the demons burst through the enormous pyramid of Tongariro arriving as Ngatoroirangi lay on the edge of death.
While the slave Aruhoe had succumbed to death already, Ngatoroirangi was slowly revived by the volcanic heat created by the demons. The warmth spread through his veins sending life to his muscle and bone. After gaining his strength, Ngatoroirangi took the body of his slave, Aruhoe and threw it to the crater. The place has since been known as Ngaruahoe. And so it is that volcanic and thermal activity came to the region and the Arawa tribes became its guardian.


Take the tour wherein you learn how the costumes are made and you see the various thermal areas.

Then see the wonderful Maori show that is offered here.

We also bought out the gift shop.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:There is much to see and much to learn
  • Cons:It can get crowded
  • In a nutshell:This is New Zealand's Yellowstone Park with a show added.
  • Last visit to Whakarewarewa: Mar 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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