Northland’s Ngawha Springs reopens after a year-long $4.3 million refurbishment
After four centuries as a popular destination for restorative healing, Ngawha Springs has reopened after a year-long $4.3 million refurbishment.
Located five kilometres east of the Northland town of Kaikohe, Ngawha Springs is a geothermal hot pool complex consisting of 16 mineral baths each with unique nutrient and temperature characteristics.
Closed in March 2020 for a much-needed enhancement funded by the Provincial Growth Fund ($1.79 million), Foundation North ($1.8 million), Lotteries ($710,000), Te Puni Kōkiri and Northland Inc., the attraction is again open for guests to enjoy its therapeutic qualities and healing properties.
Parahirahi Ngawha Waiariki Trust is caretaker of the springs, and Chair Dr Te Tuhi Robust says it was a happy coincidence the Trust took the opportunity to refurbish the springs at the onset of COVID-19 when it would have been forced to close anyway.
Dr Robust explained “it was the perfect time to reinvest in this sacred taonga (treasure) that is Ngawha Springs
“For more than 400 years, this ancient source of water direct from Papatūānuku has been a place for healing and rejuvenation. Now, post COVID-19, we are back better than ever as a place for locals and visitors can come for their health and wellbeing.
NZ Māori Tourism’s sales, marketing, and product development manager Kiri Atkinson-Crean believes the post COVID environment will see visitors drawn to deeper experiences operating in balance with the land, its people and culture and sharing authentic connection to these elements.
She explains “feedback from a number of online travel agents tells us New Zealand and Australia are currently the most searched for destinations in the dream and planning phases
“And within New Zealand, those people are searching for alternatives to mass tourism, keen to be lifted out of the every day, away from throngs of people, to head off the beaten track, to experience nature and people who restore their souls.”
Accounts of Ngawha Springs date back to 1600 when Ngapuhi ancestress Kareariki discovered their curative powers, particularly those giving relief to mothers after childbirth.
Over time many have taken advantage of the healing qualities provided by the natural springs.
Dr Robust adds “Ngawha (Springs) has always been special.
“When visitors come to enjoy the beauty of the Bay of Islands (which is) only 30km away, they … can bathe in the healing waters at Ngawha Springs and let the ancient energy revitalise their senses while the minerals from deep in the earth permeate their body.”
Fed by natural geothermal spring waters, the Ngawha Springs are iconic to Ngapuhi who have always had a relationship with the healing waters valued for providing physical and spiritual wellbeing. They are culturally significant and have a rich social, environmental, and political history.
For more information go to www.ngawha.nz
Images of Ngawha Springs courtesy of the Parahirahi Ngawha Waiariki Trust.
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