Geothermal Valley Te-puia, Rotorua, Newzeland
09 Mar 2019

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

History of Pōhutu

As well as being a spectacular sight, Pōhutu is the most reliable geyser on Earth. Eruptions can last from a few minutes to much longer. About 15 years ago, Pōhutu erupted for over 250 days. Pōhutu has been visited by royalty and many other famous people. However, because nearby residents used bores to tap into the valley’s geothermal resources, Pōhutu was once at grave risk of losing its power. Fortunately, a programme to close bores has ensured that today, Pōhutu continues to impress visitors once or twice an hour.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Papakura Geyser

Papakura geyser was once the jewel in the crown of Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Many people believe that if it hadn’t become dormant, it would be as popular today as Pōhutu. Papakura used to erupt very consistently, up to heights of three metres (about 9 feet). The Papakura spring produced ample hot water and the geyser was so highly regarded that one of Te Puia’s famous guides, Maggie Papakura, named herself in honour of the geyser.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Te Horu Geyser – ‘The Cauldron’

Te Horu (Teh-Hor-du) Geyser used to erupt on a regular basis, up to heights of 7 metres (about 23 feet), until 1972, when all activity stopped. Te Horu is also known as ‘The Cauldron’, as air-cooled water from nearby Pōhutu Geyser sometimes lands in Te Horu’s vent. It is believed this delays Pōhutu’s next eruption. Te Horu displayed new signs of life in 1998 as water in its vent bubbled and began overflowing, but so far there have been no new eruptions.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā


Purapurawhetu (‘poo-rah-poo-rah-fet-oo’) means ‘star dust’. The Purapurawhetu mud pool takes its name from the small clusters of boiling mud in the pool. This resembles a pattern of stars, such as the Milky Way galaxy. The mud in this pool is dark because it contains small quantities of black sulphur.

Geothermal / Ngāwhā

Te Tohu geyser

Te Tohu was also named ‘Prince of Wales Feathers’ geyser in 1901, in honour of a British royal visit to Whakarewarewa. The royal guests noticed a resemblance between Te Tohu’s plume and the feathers on the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales. Te Tohu is called an ‘indicator’ geyser – it usually erupts just before Pōhutu, it’s neighbour. Te Tohu first sprang to life in 1886 following the eruption of Mount Tarawera. It has played almost continuously since 1992 – erupting to heights of up to 7 metres (21 feet).

Photographer : Bhupal K Gurung


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