ROTORUA: HELL’S GATE CALLING

Gary Diskin - Jan 9, 2012
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A visit to the unique Rotorua in New Zealand becomes an outlandish experience. Many who have seen local Hell’s Gate have wondered in quiet awe including the great G.B. Shaw, who gave this natural phenomenon its English name.

New Zealand, the country of striking natural beauty, undoubtedly belongs to the most magical places on Earth. Even though most visitors get to travel half way across the world, a visit there is still worth the journey to explore local magnificent riches and learn about the spiritual world of the Maori.

The area called Tikitere may not seem like the most picturesque of places, yet it is simply spectacular. When the Irish playwright G.B. Shaw first shed eyes on Tikitere, he dubbed it “Hell’s Gate” and the Maori tribes accepted it as its English name. It is an active geothermal park, featuring hot water lakes, geysers, mud pools, sulphur crystals.

The name Tikitere relates to a legend of Maori Princess Hurutini, a wife to a brutal chief. She threw herself in one of the boiling pools and upon finding her dead body, her mother exclaimed “Aue Teri Nei Tiki” or “here lies my precious one”.

Eventually her words became shortened into Tikitere, yet the legend still remains part of local folklore. The Maori have lived there for over 700 years. The tribes discovered the healing powers of local mud pools and warriors used to heal their wounds there.

Today, the area evokes nothing but respect and admiration and one truly feels as if in presence of a deep spiritual as well as earthly power. The park spreads over an area of 50 acres and a walk there may become quite an exhilarating experience. Visiting the Inferno and Kakahi Falls is a must as these are the largest hot waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere.

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