Additional investigations required for Rotorua Museum

Tuesday 20, April 2021 | News |

Complex geotechnical and structural challenges requiring additional investigations mean the opening of Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa, housed within the Bath House building, has been delayed.

Rotorua Lakes Council Group Manager – Operations, Jocelyn Mikaere, explains taking the time to complete additional investigations now will ensure the best outcome for the well-loved facility.

“Rotorua Lakes Council understands the importance of this beautiful heritage building to our community and visitors. Whilst pre-construction work and extensive asbestos removal has been completed we are pausing construction while additional investigations take place,” says Mikaere.

“The Rotorua Bath House building is one of the most challenging and complex strengthening projects happening in New Zealand at the moment.

“As the design reached the most complex atrium area the challenge of strengthening a heritage building sited on geothermal ground resulted in buildability and risk questions. It is prudent to assess alternatives now versus continuing without adequate risk mitigations in place.”

Additional expertise has been brought in to the project to assist in resolving a range of issues that have surfaced during the pre-construction phase that require further investigation and advice to inform the structural solutions for this building.

“It’s important that we have the best information to get the right solution for the complexities we are dealing with, such as 1908 unreinforced pumice masonry structures, a very heavy roof and challenging geothermal ground conditions,” explains Mikaere.

“We want to ensure that when the strengthening and restoration of this iconic building is completed, it will be a safe and much loved part of our community fabric for the decades to come.”

Initially expected to open in 2022, construction of the Bath House building is now likely to begin in 2022 with build time of approximately two years.

The Rotorua Museum team will be commencing its extensive engagement programme in the coming months, giving the community the chance to share stories, thoughts and views throughout the exhibition design process. It is estimated exhibition installation will take approximately 12 months with Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa expected to open in 2025.

Once information from the geothermal and structural investigations is provided by experts, Rotorua Lakes Council will host several local update events to inform the community on the projects progress and amended timeframe.


For further information:

Kathy Nicholls, Communications & Marketing Coordinator,

Arts & Culture Division, Rotorua Lakes Council

P: 07 351 8456 C: 0276 741 898 E:

Image credit: Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa. Courtesy of Fullframe Photography.