Topic: Government Gardens

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History of the old Government Gardens in Rotorua

Government Gardens 1988 The gardens are an active thermal area and the soil conditions are far from ideal for a garden. In the past, thermal blowouts have literally cooked whatever was planted in the vicinity. Despite these difficulties, the gardens are a major attraction and are enjoyed by both visitors and locals.  

The Rotorua Government Gardens (Paepaehakumanu Motutara) came into being as a recreational area during the last two decades of the 19 th Century following the gift of 50 acres containing the medicinal springs along the southern shore of Lake Rotorua from the original Maori owners “for the benefit of the people of the world”.

In August 1987 the Rotorua District Council took over the Gardens.  

The Gardens provide facilities for bowls, croquet, petanque and golf. There are various points of interest including the Arawa Soldiers Memorial, geothermal features, the Kwaqiulth Totem Pole and various buildings of historic interest including the Blue Baths and the Rotorua Museum.

An article in New Zealand Heritage, Issue 124 (Autumn 2012) pp. 35 - 39 outlines the layers of history now honoured in the dual registration under the Historic Places Act and as a wahi tapu area under the Maori Heritage Council.

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