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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Entering Hell's Gate

Entering Hell's Gate, the visitor will pass beneath a wooden Maori archway called a waharoa. It contains elaborate carvings and tells the legend of the early Maori chief who settled here and whose descendants today own Hell's Gate.

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Photo10756
(click for larger photo)
Hell's Gate, Rotorua, May 2006

If you join the guided tour, the group will first stop in front of the waharoa to listen to the legend. Afterwhich, the Maori guide will say a short prayer/chant for the blessing and protection of the group before entering Hell's Gate. While some may feel uncomfortable about this, believe me, it is a very good way to get the attention of everyone to watch their steps the moment they are inside Hell's Gate! You will do well to heed the warning signs in this place.

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Photo10757
(click for larger photo)
Welcome signboard explaining the Waharoa
Hell's Gate, Rotorua, May 2006

A Steamy Vacation in Rotorua !

How about spending a steamy vacation in New Zealand? That’s what playwright George Bernard Shaw did in his visit to Rotorua in 1934! He must have been awed by the landscape of boiling mud pools, steaming fumeroles and caught a glimpse of what he thought hell would look like that he gave a geothermal reserve its famous name “Hell’s Gate”.

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Pano49
(click for larger photo)
Your kind of steamy vacation ?
Hell’s Gate, Rotorua, May 2006

Hell’s Gate Geothermal Reserve covers 50 acres and claims to be the most active geothermal field in Rotorua. It is also the only Maori owned geothermal reserve in the Rotorua / Taupo region. It’s Maori name, Tikitere is an abbreviation of “Taku tiki i tere nei” which means “my daughter has floated away”. The legend concerns Maori princess Hurutini who threw herself into a boiling pool in this place because her husband had treated her with contempt. Hurutini’s mum was very upset by her daughter's death and seeing her body afloat on the water. Hence, the name Tikitere.

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Pano52
(click for larger photo)
Another steamy photo
Hell’s Gate, Rotorua, May 2006
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