Rotunda

Hinemaru Street And Queens Drive, Rotorua

  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones.
  • An important gathering at the Band Rotunda.
    Copyright: Rotorua District Council.
  • Rotunda.
    Copyright: Rotorua District Council. Taken By: Don Stafford Collection. Date: 1/01/1973.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 789 Date Entered 7th April 1983

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Rotorua District

Region

Bay of Plenty Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 3 DP 15998 (CT SA34C/324) (Recreation Reserve NZ Gazette 1984 p 2272), South Auckland Land District

Location description

Enter the Gardens at Queens Drive, it is to the right, just past the Te Runanga Building. Located beside the ornamental pond and garden.

Summaryopen/close

The Rotunda was erected in Rotorua’s Government Gardens in 1900, in response to a changing emphasis for the Gardens, from sanatorium to health spa and leisure garden. Entertainment and the avoidance of boredom by patients, was considered a crucial part of a holistic treatment approach, and the music also added to the attraction for tourists. Both a European band (probably the Rotorua Amateur Brass Band) formed in the early 1890s and Maori band (Rotorua Maori Band) established circa 1900 to 1904, were employed to perform turn about, in the evenings, however, complaints by Wohlmann that the music was ‘too dull’ saw an orchestra engaged in 1909.

The Band Rotunda has been relocated from its original site. It was erected approximately in the middle of where the current bowling club building is located and was moved to make room for this facility

The structure was built utilising prefabricated iron work manufactured by Brinsley & Co., Dunedin. Originally sited near the current bowling club, it now stands a few metres south of the entrance to Queen’s Drive. An octagonal rotunda the sides are open, but quite decorative, composed of ornate cast iron elements with a low baluster with a base of fleur de lis alternated with circles containing four leaf patterns. The central section features concentric circles with a four leaf design at the intersection of the circles, and the top section has a foliated scroll pattern. Access is via four semi circular concrete steps flanked by timber newel posts. The octagonal ogee profiled roof is sheathed in aluminium supported by eight columns with Corinthian capitals. Rising from the capitals are ornate brackets and architrave with a foliated scroll pattern. The architrave supports a wooden frieze and cornice. The aluminium roof is topped by an ornate finial, which is a light fitting. The ceiling is constructed of tongue and groove timber with a central fretwork rosette. A low timber octagonal, band conductor’s stand is fixed to the centre of the rotunda floor. The landscaping was an important element in the finalising the erection of the Rotunda, with a rock collar formed around its base for cultivation of alpine plants. Although primarily used for band performances, it was used for time by the bowling club used it as a committee and refreshment room during tournaments.

Architecturally, the Rotunda is a fine example of an ornate, Edwardian rotunda representative of a Government committed to invest generously in projects that might add another dimension to the Gardens, and further build its burgeoning tourism industry. The Rotunda is highly significant for its representation of New Zealand’s social history, through the evolving spa concept and the importance of entertainment as part of the Edwardian spa and Pleasure Garden ideal of the time. It represents early endeavours to provide what was considered a sophisticated ‘pleasure garden’ environment such as those known at spas in Europe. Scientifically it was introduced as part of a holistic approach to treatment regimes put in place by the first Government Balneologist, Dr Arthur Wohlmann. There is historic importance in Government employing the Rotorua Maori Band, given its determination that Maori cultural experiences were an important part of the tourism mix in Rotorua.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Completion Date

7th November 2011

Report Written By

G. Henry, J. Schuster, T. Ngata, L. Pattison

Other Information

Information in this report is from the registration report for the Rotorua Government Gardens Historic Area (Register no. 7015). A fully referenced copy of this report is available from the Lower Northern Office of the NZHPT.

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.