Te Aroha Domain Historic Area

Te Aroha Domain, Te Aroha

  • Te Aroha Domain Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones.
  • Te Aroha Domain Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones.
  • Te Aroha Domain Historic Area. Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 27/10/1994.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7012 Date Entered 27th October 1994

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

The Domain is located off the eastern side of Whitaker Street between Boundary and Wilson Streets. The eastern boundary of the Domain stretches up in a rectangular block to Bald Spur on Mount Te Aroha. The main access to the reserve is from Whitaker Street with minor accessways from Church, Koromiko and Wilson Streets.

Buildings and structures in Te Aroha domain. Includes Te Aroha Domain Buildings and Bathhouses, Maori Bathhouse No.6; Neighbouring Bathhouse No.1; and Bathhouse opposite Tepid Baths No.2, including Cadman Building.

City/District Council

Matamata-Piako District

Region

Waikato Region

Summaryopen/close

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Te Aroha Hot Springs was one of the main health spas to be developed in New Zealand at the end of the nineteenth century for tourists. It was at its peak of popularity in the 1880's and 1890's with its mineral waters being compared to those of famous nineteenth Century European spas.

Main European settlement in the town started with the discovery of gold in the 1880's. Two primitive structures sunk around 1880 became the first baths on the domain and as Te Aroha's reputation as a "spa town" grew new hotels and boarding houses were opened to accommodate people coming to recuperate or receive treatments. Transportation to the resort was via a coach service (from 1881) or rail (from 1886).

From 1883 the first permanent bathhouses were being constructed and just four years later there were seven bathhouses, a drinking fountain, extensive fencing, drainage systems and planting established. Recreational areas were also developed for outdoor sports. Up until 1902 Te Aroha was the most popular and most lucrative of the three government sanatoria. People came to sample the therapeutic and curative qualities of the baths, massage facilities, aortal treatment (graduated hill climbing up to Bald Spur) for heart disease and drink the mineral waters. Ingesting the water was believed to be a cure for gout, anaemia and dyspepsia as well as being a good laxative and diuretic. In 1886 water from Spring 8 and 15 was bottled and sold.

Up until 1902 Te Aroha grew in popularity and in size. In 1903 the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts took over control of the Domain and the Domain Board was dismantled. From this time on the popularity of the Te Aroha baths began to decline as government funding and the tourists attention became increasingly drawn to Rotorua. From the 1930's onward Te Aroha experienced financial losses and by the 1950's a number of the original springs were closed. In many ways, 1961 saw the end of the original Te Aroha Spa. In that year the Cadman baths were closed, the cold water swimming pool was filled in and now it is a popular park and picnic area with a modern spa area, original No 2 bathhouse and the Museum (former Cadman Building).

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain was for almost two decades the most popular of the three main spa resorts developed in New Zealand at the end of the nineteenth century.

CONCLUSION:

Te Aroha Hot Springs has significant historical and cultural value as a once leading nineteenth Century New Zealand health resort. It has maintained a level of historic integrity unmatched by other spa resorts such as Hanmer Springs and Rotorua. The structures that remain and the landscape features of the Domain serve to maintain much of the original Edwardian character.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural:

Te Aroha is an interesting collection of vernacular bathing and recreational buildings that still reflects the character of the Edwardian era. Only a few of the original buildings remain but they are unique architectural examples of their type.

Aesthetic:

The Te Aroha grounds represent the mature landscape that has been altered over time but one that still retains features from the gardens developed under H. Dalton and T.E. Pearson. The original landscaping that includes lake-lets, rockeries, exotic and native plant life is enhanced by the remaining Edwardian structures.

Archaeological:

There are several significant archaeological sites within the Domain due to the removal of structures dating back to the spa's heyday.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural/Social:

Te Aroha reflects nineteenth Century attitudes to health problems and their cure. The Domain continues to play an important part in the town as an urban park area, a sports centre and as an attraction for local and international tourists.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Information Sources

Mackay, 1993

Jamie Mackay, 'The Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain Conservation Area, Te Aroha, New Zealand', NZHPT report, Wellington, 1993.

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Northern region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

Historic Area Place Name

Band Rotunda
Bathhouse No. 1
Bathhouse No.3
Bathhouse No.4
Bathhouse No.5
Bathhouse No.6
Cadman Bath House (Former)
Cold Swimming Bath
Department of Conservation Cottage
Domain Office (Former)
Gazebo over No 15 Spring
Modern Structures
Mokena Geyser & No.2 Bore
No 2 Bath House
No 7 Bath House
Tea House
Tepid Swimming Bath