Papakura Geyser wakes with a splash

Our once-famous Papakura Geyser, dormant since 1979, has recently burst into life, erupting continuously for 36 hours and shooting water up to four meters into the air, leaving both our staff and scientists ecstatic. 

In the past, Papakura Geyser drew visitors from near and far to witness her playful eruptions, which had been consistent until 1979 when she became dormant. Excitement was felt across Te Whakarewarewa Valley in September 2013 when she started showing signs of life again with bubbling water, steam and a water overflow.

This latest development is directly attributed to Rotorua’s bore closure programme of the 1980s which saw all bores within a 1.5km radius of Te Whakarewarewa Valley closed down, in a bid to return the underground water pressure back to our geothermal wonders. It’s now believed that Papakura’s eruptions signify a world first in terms of reversing the damage caused by exploitation of a geothermal field.

Te Puia chief executive, Tim Cossar, says Papakura has continued to “bubble away” for the past 18 months, however, she has entered a remarkable new phase of activity.

“This has been a thrilling development for Te Whakarewarewa Valley, our manuhiri (visitors) and our people – many of whom are the latest of several generations to live and work here.

“We keep a close eye on our various geothermal features to monitor any changes, and to see her suddenly start erupting was extremely exciting. We don’t know when she will start again or how long she will continue to perform for us, but it was certainly fantastic to see it.

“Visitors have been drawn to the geothermal features of the Valley, and the hospitality of our people, for almost 200 years and it is an attraction that is as important today as it was then. These recent developments add a new layer to this offering – and it’s right here in our back yard.”

Papakura burst into life the day of Te Puia | New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institutes brand launch.

The brand launch defined and celebrated our two legacies, one for tourism and one for culture, and reinforced our relevance and responsibilities under the legislation that govern us.

“Under this legislation, we are not only mandated to maintain and preserve traditional Māori art forms, but we also have a clear responsibility to ensure the sustainability of our remarkable geothermal landscape and the natural environment that exists here in the Valley,” Mr Cossar says.

While Papakura Geyser’s continuous eruptions have slowed down, she continues to bubble away with periods of increased activity. Visitors to Te Puia can clearly and safely get a glimpse of the geyser and her activity from existing pathways and viewing areas.