Do you admire old buildings? See Te Aroha’s Finest! While there are many other buildings of great interest, this information will lead you on a short trail around Te Aroha. Most of the buildings are private property and owners’ privacy should be respected. Either click on the sites of interest on the map below or scroll down for more information
Download a brochure including larger map - pdf, 1.9mb. Hard copies are also available from Te Aroha i-SITE Visitor Centre.
While following the trail around Te Aroha you will go back in time through various phases of history. The notes give you a background to the buildings and their place in this remarkable town.
Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain is unique in that it is the only complete Edwardian Domain in New Zealand. It covers an area of 44 hectares, and includes Edwardian buildings, gardens, barbecue and picnic areas. A picturesque setting creates the perfect venue for a all to enjoy. Gazetted as a recreation ground in April 1881, the original 9 hectares containing the hot springs were bought under the Public Domain Act in 1882 with the administration designated to a locally run Domain Board. By this time there were 18 springs, 15 of them hot. The following century saw the area of the Domain increase to its present size as land adjoining the oridinal gift was bought from the original landowners, the Morgan and Lipsey families. This expanded the recreation resource of the Domain beyond the health giving springs to include also a network of walking tracks and indigenous forest. Today the Domain is managed by the Matamata Piako District Council.
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.
The Te Aroha Library was opened in August 1936 by Mayor Robert Coulter. The building began life as a public building, housing the Te Aroha Borough Council. Although it has been altered internally over the years, its clean lines and rimu and brass fittings have a timeless quality. Housing the Te Aroha Library and local Council archives, the current occupants keep in use some of the original furnishings used by the Council of the time.
The Arts Centre is housed in what was once the Te Aroha Court House. Completed in 1883, it was in use even before the roof was built. A special sitting was arranged after a ‘fracas’ at the Palace Hotel!
The road and pedestrian bridge over the Waihou River on Kenrick Street is named after Robert Coulter, Mayor of Te Aroha for 20 years. Completed in 1928 it carries thousands of vehicles each day, the roadway being part of Highway 26 connecting the Waikato with the Coromandel. On October 31, 1992, over 600 people from Te Aroha and the surrounding district turned out to paint the bridge in heritage colours. Encouraged by the local promotional groups, Project Te Aroha, the event was crowned by the gift of old style lamps to complete the restoration programme, Power NZ donated the lamps as a tribute to the old Thames Valley Electric Power Board, which was centred in Te Aroha for many years.
The Railway Bridge was built in 1912, replacing a remarkable swing bridge structure. The concrete base of the old 1886 moving bridge can still be seen incorporated into the present bridge. The swing section was necessary to allow boats and barges to pass through.
The Returned Servicesmen’s Association memorial clubrooms were built in 1947 with a major expansion in 1992-93. The additions have been made in keeping with the original “California Spanish’ style.
Completed in 1955, the town’s most striking feature would inevitably be the tall chiming clock tower at the junction of Kenrick and Whitaker Streets. It is Te Aroha’s War Memorial Clock, dedicated to the memory of 200 of its sons from town and district, who fell in World Wars I and II. It also serves as a tribute to nearly 1000 others who served in the armed forces.
The old ANZ Bank Building in Whitaker Street, with its imposing façade and large steps, was built in 1922 and is now a café.
This Roman Catholic church was built in 1957 and reflects an Art Deco style. The new building replaced the 1906 church, which was moved to Waitoa.
Built as the Presbyterian Church in 1931 it is now used by a co-operating parish of Methodists and Presbyterians.
Back in Kenrick Street, turn left up to the World War I and II Memorial Clock Tower. The Great War Statue behind the tower was commissioned from McNabb and Mason of Auckland in the 1920’s. It is one of several examples in the Southern Hemisphere of the work of the Italian sculptor Giobonni. It is constructed of Canadian granite and represents a New Zealand Infantryman of the time.
The Anglican Church was built as a World War I Memorial “Peace” Church in 1926 at a total cost (including seating) of 4,230 pounds. This building houses the beautifully restored pipe organ built by Renatus Harris for Queen Ann in 1712. Brought to New Zealand in 1927 by Mrs Maude Wayne, it is the oldest pipe organ in the Southern Hemisphere.
This was originally a hotel in the gold-mining settlement of Waiorongomai and was moved to the present site in the early 1900’s. The southern portion of the building was completed in 1927 in complimentary style. The building is now known as Mokena Restaurant.
Hazelwood House was run as a boarding house by the Hotchins family for board and residence when the Te Aroha Mineral Baths was in its early prime in the lat 1800’s – early 1900’s. The site was brought by Peter Baine (related to the Hotchins by marriage) in 1907. It remained a boarding house for many years afterward.
Built in 1892 this home was the original Te Aroha Maternity Hospital. It forms part of the entrance way to the Soda Baths in the Hot Springs Domain.
Prior to 1985 the upper Tutumangaeo Stream fed Te Aroha’s water supply reservoir. During the 1985 storm a tributary of the storm changed course, filling the reservoir with boulders, trees and other debris, making the reservoir unusable.
This quaint villa was built prior to World War I for the Management of Hetheringtons. From 1913 until the early 1920’s it became the residence of Dr. Gordon, known for his extreme dedication to his patients during and after the World War I.