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Orakeikorako

Hydro power generation has raised river levels, flooding around 200 hot springs and 70 geysers. Thirty five active geysers and around 100 hot springs remain.

Natural features


Photograph of a sinter terrace at Orakei Korako

  • Most geyser activity was flooded when Lake Ohakuri (a hydro lake) was formed.

  • Now 35 active geysers plus approximately 100 hot springs, plus mud pools and sinter deposits remain.

  • Largest population of the rare fern Cyclosorus interruptus.

  • Other rare ferns, Schizaea dichotoma, Christella sp. 'thermal' and Nephrolepsis sp. 'thermal' are also present.

History

Orakeikorako has a long history of Maori settlement and there are old photographs of wharenui (meeting houses) and people there. Some of the geothermal area at Orakeikorako remains in Maori ownership, and some has been bought back by Ngati Tahu after being taken by the Crown under the Public Works Act when the lake was created.

Condition

Orakeikorako is classified a Protected Geothermal System by Waikato Regional Council.

In 1961, Lake Ohakuri was formed for hydro power generation. This raised the Waikato River level by 18m at Orakeikorako, flooding approximately 200 alkaline hot springs and 70 geysers.

Part of Orakeikorako is managed for the Maori land owners as a tourist attraction. The system is now protected from further development.