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Tokaanu - Waihi - Hipaua

This geothermal system has been damaged by poorly planned development, but several geysers, sinter deposits and other natural features remain.

Natural features


Tokaanu

This system has several geysers, sinter deposits, hot springs and pools, steaming cliffs, fumaroles, steam vents and seepages.

The Taumatapuhipuhi Geyser boils to around 1m high for 30 seconds, every two to three minutes. It used to erupt to a height of several metres, but these larger eruptions are now infrequent.

Condition

Natural features have been damaged by poorly planned town development and the building of a tourist path through the features.

A government exploration bore was drilled in 1942. It has been left open and discharging geothermal fluid ever since. This bore loses geothermal fluid at a rate equal to the sum of all other takes.

There are small takes for bathing and heating for a hotel, motels, and domestic use.

Some neighbouring swampy land has been drained and one geyser, Matewai - Hoani Springs, is now usually inactive.

Many of the hot pools and fumaroles at Tokaanu and Waihi are used frequently by the local Maori people for bathing, cooking, and medical and ceremonial uses.

The Hipaua steaming cliffs have caused several fatal landslides and represent an ongoing hazard to State Highway 41 and the Waihi settlement. Find out more about the landslide hazard.

Large-scale energy extraction has the potential to exacerbate this risk, damage or destroy the features, cause heating of ground and hydrothermal eruptions in populated areas, and result in ground subsidence, causing the settlements of Tokaanu and Waihi to become flooded by Lake Taupo.

Accordingly Tokaanu - Waihi - Hipaua has been classified by Waikato Regional Council for limited development.