Topic: Te Arawa

Natural baths closed to public

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Whakarewarewa Village locals in Rotorua are fed up with members of the public using their natural mineral baths.  The pools are administered by a Māori Trust who only allows members of the trust and local sub-tribes to use the baths.

Descendants of Tūhourangi/ Ngāti Wāhiao have been using this natural resource since the early 1800's.  

Local Villager, Wharekahika Clarke says that “It’s about stopping those who aren’t from the village coming in and enjoying our luxuries such as the baths. Stopping all the vandalism and disrespecting our elders.”  

The Rahui Trust administers the use of the geothermal baths. One of the members who didn't want to be named told Te Kāea, "Their concerns around the public use of the baths aren't new." 

Signs have been erected to remind members of the public the baths can only be used by Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wāhiao descendants.

According to trustees, trespassing has been a major problem recently so a voluntary security watch has been re-established.  Clarke who is a member of this voluntary security watch says, “We don't just want anyone coming in here, especially if they are going to disrespect what we have, this is our taonga and we are just trying to protect it really."

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