Information – Hanmer Springs Hot Springs / Pools
Hanmer Springs – the real New Zealand – 90 minutes north of Christchurch.
Historically, the springs were believed to be known to Maori.
Maori legend tells of Tamatea calling on the Ariki of the Northern Volcanoes, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe to save his party from freezing on their return to the North Island, after their canoe was wrecked off the Otago Coast.
The Ariki answered by sending flames down the Wanganui River and across to Nelson, where they rose in the air, dropping a piece off in Hanmer Springs. This gave rise to the hot springs, known as “Te Whakatakaka O Te Ngarehu O Ahi Tamatea” – where the ashes of Tamatea’s fire lay.
Hanmer Springs, as it is now known, has been enjoyed by visitors for 123 years. The thermal resources in the area were discovered in 1859. However, early development was hindered by the inaccessibility of the region and it was another 20 years before the springs were developed, with the construction of an iron bathing shed and appointment of a manager in 1879.
In the early period, use of the pools was closely linked to the activities of the Queen Mary Hospital. Recreational bathing has always played a part but other activities such as the recuperation of the solders returning from war, relief for the arthritic and disabled have had a
major role in its history.
The bore is just outside the complex and although not the original, it is in the approximate area that the pools were found. The thermal water is no longer at the surface because of the quantity of water that is drawn. If draw off were discontinued the water would return to the surface.