Geothermal wonder to be restored
It is New Zealand Conservation Week and a perfect time for work to begin on the restoration of Rotorua’s Sanatorium Reserve.
Rotorua Lakes Council is working with Iwi, community partners and a range of conservation organisations to start the restoration of Sanatorium Reserve.
Te Arikiroa, known as Sanatorium Reserve, occupies 77 hectares on the edge of Lake Rotorua and is considered to be the fourth largest area of geothermal habitat in New Zealand.
The area is also a significant part of Rotorua’s history with Ngati Whakaue gifting the land as part of the Fenton Agreement in 1880 for the benefit of the Rotorua community.
Historically the reserve has been an important habitat for endangered birds and rare geothermal plant species but overtime it has been changed by human activity including mining, bathing, dumping of waste and other development.
The area is a highly popular area for walkers, runners and bikers and for both locals and visitors to the city.
The restoration work will happen in two main stages; firstly, the ecological restoration which will include removing plant and animal pests from the area. This stage is likely to take at least two years and will be managed by Rotorua-based Wildlands Consultants.
The second stage, which will involve consultation with Iwi, conservation partners and the community, will focus on re-vegetation and infrastructure enhancement such as creating viewing platforms and signage about the cultural and ecological aspects.