Saturday, 28 January 2017

Book Review : The Hot Lakes Guides by John C. M. Cresswell

Guiding in the Rotorua area, pre-eruption Te Wairoa to Whakarewarewa

Guides were the accepted way to see the geysers, hot pools, terraces and lakes from c1850 onward. 

John Cresswell writes a succinct history, of the guides and their families, and the area from Te Wairoa Waimangu, Waiotapu and Whakarewarewa.  Guides were essential at this time before the Mt. Tarawera eruption in 1886 as it was frowned upon for tourists to cross Lake Rotomahana to the terraces any other way.

The principal guides were Sophia, Maggie and Bella and later from 1901 Beatrice, Mary, Miriam and Pipi . In 1910 the guides were required to register for a license to guide with the  'Department of Tourist and Health Resorts'.  There were also many part-time guides and whanau who also performed in the daily Maori Concerts. These concerts continue to this day and Rotorua is the only place where one can attend a regular nightly show.

The author paints a vivid picture throughout his book, of this unique region, and illustrates his work with many black and white images of the guides and the region through the ages up to the 1980s.

A fascinating read for any budding historian or those for whom history explains the present.

From : Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19031029-15-1 '

Monday, 16 January 2017

Rotorua Holiday Destination since 1870

Rotorua Spa City c1870

Excerpt from : Auckland Star, Volume I, Issue 295, 20 December 1870

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh visited Rotorua on "December 15th - Started from Ohinemutu at 10.00am for Lake Tarawera, visiting the hot springs at Whakarewarewa en route..." he went on to visit the Pink & White Terraces, the Geyser Ngatapu and mud springs of Rotokanapu. 
On this visit H.R.H. camped at Ohinemutu, with his personal guard of the Native Contingent, under Captain Gascoigne. He also stayed with the Rev. S Spencer at Lake Tarawera.

By 1872 the accommodations at Ohinemutu had improved somewhat : 

Advert from the Bay of Plenty Times : Volume I, Issue 24, 23 November 1872.

It seems paddocking and alcohol were are major draw card for the hotels, the first hotel of Ohinemutu clearly thought so..., there was at the time no other hotels to choose from and tourists had to take what they could get, this would have included aristocracy such as  "Lord D'Arcy Osborne and two others of the haughty aristocracy... and others too numerous to mention" BPT 10.11.1875. 

In 1884 the tourist statistics for the season stood at 1,250 and takings for the region stood at £15,400

After the 1886 Tarawera Eruption, tourism suffered, but only for a short duration!. It seems one month after the eruption Captain Way was happy to guide people to the volcano (Bay of Plenty Times 10.7.1886) and by 1887 it was reported in the Auckland Star that "not withstanding the destruction of the Pink & White Terraces, more tourists passed through Napier for the Hot Lakes this season than ever before..." 

This Postcard was donated to the Rotorua District Library, 2013.

In 1891 Thos. Cook & Sons, tourist agents arrived to make arrangements for an office in Rotorua.

For more interesting facts and information about our fair city you can read the following books :

The Founding Years in Rotorua, a history of events to 1900 by Don Stafford at 993.423z STA
A history of Rotorua : a brief survey of the settlement of Rotorua by Enid Tapsell at 993.423z TAP
Tarawera: the volcanic eruption of 10 June 1886 by R.F. Keam at 993.423z KEA

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Happy New Year from Rotorua Library

New Year's Best Recipes, 1959.

From the 1958/59 UBD for Rotorua.

These recipes from the Universal Business Directory are heavy on the Whittome Stevenson products, but tomato sauce of any brand is still popular today! My goodness how recipes have moved on.

The Rotorua Library has an incomplete collection of these Business Directories from 1957-1969. A walk down memory lane from Polly Pennant on Household Hints is also worth a read as some methods are still the best. 

In UBD for Rotorua 1957/58.
These gems can be perused in the Heritage & Research collection of the Rotorua Library.