Over time the perceived values of the geothermal fields have
changed. During the beginning of the European colonisation
there was a drive to make Rotorua the Spa City of the South
Pacific, which included significant government funding. The idea,
however, effectively died during the early part of the twentieth
century. Following the energy shortages in the early 1950s,
the energy potential of the field began to dominate and
unconstrained extraction took place. In the mid-1980s the
government stepped in and imposed the compulsory closure of many
bores and instigated a resource rental regime.
There are still today two schools of thought:
- Those who believe the tourists come to Rotorua to see the
geothermal features and who stay in the hotels/motels as a
- Those who believe the tourists come to Rotorua to sit in the
thermal at the hotels/motels and who visited the geothermal
features as a consequence.
With Bay of Plenty Regional Council policing a set level of
protection for the geothermal features it seems the main aim in
Rotorua is once again to become the Spa City of the South
Over the last eight years this new aim has resulted in:
- the renovation of the old Polynesian Pools, now the Polynesian
- the renovation of the original Blue Baths; and
- a proposal to construct a Baden-Baden like spa complex on
vacant land in the centre of Rotorua;
- a surge of major and minor accommodation facilities wanting to
offer 'real' geothermal fluid to their clients.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has faced increasing pressure
from new developers, particularly large hotels, wanting to extract
and use geothermal fluid but the Geothermal Plan does not permit an
increase in the net amount of extraction levels set in 1992. This
means that all new takes of fluid will have to be reinjected.