Te Aroha Heritage Trail
Te Aroha Inforamtion Centre was originally the ticket office for the Domain and was the first significant structure not built specifically for bathing purposes. The building is now home to Information Te Aroha, part of the Visitor Information Network of New Zealand providing local information and promotion of the Domain, township and surrounding district.
The Grand Hotel was commissioned in 1896 after a huge blaze destroyed a number of buildings in January of that year. Owing to licensing difficulty it was called the Family Hotel until 1900 when the name was changed to the Grand Hotel. In the early days it provided accommodation for visitors to the thriving Domain spas.
With large scale mining for gold in the Waiorongomai valley, just south of the town many examples of the miner’s cottage made their appearance. At 33 Rewi Street, a well preserved cottage shows the durability of construction and simplicity of design. Usually consisting of two bedrooms and other rooms of quite small dimensions, it is interesting to note that many large families were raised in such buildings. The old houses are now much sought after and much care is lavished on their restoration.
The lodge was originally built in 1883. This building still stands as a private dwelling in Lawrence Avenue. The present Lodge in Rewi Street was erected in 1904 with an extension completed in 1912. It is built on the original bed of the Tutumangaeo Stream and constructed of bricks fired at the Te Aroha brickworks near where Te Aroha Primary School now stands in Centennial Avenue.
The park on Rewi Street has a marble statue erected in honour of Sir William Herries, a local farmer who was Member of Parliament for the area (at that time called the Tauranga electorate) from 1896 until his death in 1923. He was accorded a state funeral in St Mark’s Church, Te Aroha, attended by the leading dignitaries of the day. Many important sporting and cultural events have been held in the park and it is now home to the Te Aroha Athletic Club.
This stream for many years has supplied the town’s water supply. After devastating floods in 1985 the Waikato Regional Authority in conjunction with the Matamata Piako District Council undertook large-scale channeling and landscaping as part of a flood protection scheme.