Friday 25 November 2016

Buried Village: Te Wairoa, New Zealand

I visited Te Wairoa in 2011 courtesy of Tourism New Zealand.

Just outside Rotorua in attractive green hilly countryside is the former village of Te Wairoa.

I say 'former' because it was buried in mud by the massive eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886, just 3 years after Krakatoa famously blew its top off Java.

The village then lay hidden for decades, before being excavated. Now the partly reconstructed buildings sit within beautiful green grounds, accessed with the aid of onsite guides. There's also an excellent museum within the 1930s tea rooms, where visitors can have lunch.

It's a surprisingly interesting and engaging slice of a terror-filled moment in Rotorua's 19th century life.

It's also a glimpse into the early days of mass tourism. In its heyday, ladies and gentleman were rowed across a lake from the village to bathe in terraced thermal pools.

These were sadly destroyed in the eruption - after the alleged sighting of a ghostly Maori war canoe as an omen of doom.

I visited Te Wairoa in 2011. Here are some photos I took of its fascinating remains...

For more details about Te Wairoa, including opening hours and entry fees, visit its website.

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