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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]


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Whakarewarewa is two miles and a half from the town of Rotorua. Its main attraction is its large geyser, one of the largest in the thermal springs district. It is named Pohutu, and throws a column of 100 feet in height, but is intermittent in its action. There are other geysers, but their action is irregular and inconstant. There are two baths—one known as the Oil Bath, which is highly alkaline; and the other known as the Spout Bath, which is free. The Government nursery is in the immediate neighbourhood. Another attraction at Whakarewarewa is its splendid Maori house.



The State Forest Nursery, which is situated at Whakarewarewa, is thirty acres in extent, and the plantation reserve is 840 acres. In addition to the manager six men are permanently employed in working the nursery, which is maintained to raise plants and young trees for ornamental grounds at Rotorua, and other places where extensive planting is carried on by the Government. In the season of 1900, 170,000 forest trees were planted out from the State Forest Nursery on lands belonging to the Crown, and it was anticipated that half a million young plants would be available for planting in the season of 1901. Hitherto a considerable number of Maoris, including many women, have been employed in tree planting, and a large number of prisoners have recently been sent to the locality where they will be employed for several years to come, in planting useful timber trees on the barren hills and plains between Rotorua and Taupo.

Mr. John Edward Barrett, Nurseryman in charge of the State Forest Nursery since its inception, 1897, was born at Sydenham, Christchurch, in 1874. He gained his experience of the nursery business with Messrs Guntrip and Line, and afterwards with Messrs Kerr and Barnett, and Nairn and Sons, of Christchurch, who are well known in New Zealand in connection with nursery business.

Geyser Hotel (Charles Edwin Nelson, manager), Whakarewarewa, Rotorua. This hotel was established in 1892. It is a wooden building of two stories with a verandah and balcony, and has about fifty rooms, of which forty are bedrooms. There are comfortable sitting rooms, and visitors may rely upon every comfort.

Mr. Charles Edwin Nelson, Manager of the Geyser Hotel, was born in 1829 in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a son of the well-known Swedish naturalist and anthropologist, page 813 Mr. Sven Nilsson, who was a professor at Lund University from 1831 to 1856, and wrote, among other works, “The Origin of the Inhabitants of Scandinavia” and “The Fauna of Scandinavia.” Professor Nilsson was born in 1807 and died in 1883. Mr. C. E. Nelson went to sea in 1844, and during his twenty-one years' experience sailed under the flags of fifteen countries,—namely, Sweden, Denmark, German Confederation, Hamburg, Bremen, England, France, Portugal, Austria, Turkey, Russia, Greece, Arabia, United States of America, and Brazil. At the age of nineteen Mr. Nelson qualified as a mate of a ship, and in the same year passed as master in the extra first class at Malmol, Sweden. He first touched New Zealand in a whaler in 1852, and remained a few months in Auckland. After cruising about the Pacific he again visited Auckland in 1857, and was afterwards on the coast for about three years. Upon settling in Auckland Mr. Nelson worked as a surveyor under the Government. He afterwards entered the Native Land Purchase Department, and held the position of Native Land Purchase Officer in the north of Auckland for about thirteen years. Mr. Nelson settled at Rotorua in 1891 to complete researches into ancient Maori history. He has long been interested in the traditions of the native race, and is a great student of all matters that tend to show its origin. Mr. Nelson is a clever linguist and can speak a number of languages. He claims to have at least 3000 Maori words which do not appear in any extant Maori dictionary. His name has been prominently associated with a very fine Maori house, which he has had erected in the immediate neighbourhood of the hotel, and is said to be the only complete Maori house in existence. Some of the leading pieces date back at least fifty years if not more, to the period when Maori artificers were at their best. It has been completed under his supervision, and one piece in particular—the headpiece—has been reproduced from a photograph of an old doorway from the East Coast district, and now in the Auckland Museum. Mr. Hamilton, registrar of the Otago University, says of the carved house, which is named Raura: “I have seen a very large number of carvings, ancient and modern, but I know of none more perfect or more beautiful, and it is a truly representative work of Maori art.” It is understood that this Maori house has been purchased for the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. Mr. Nelson was married, in 1863, to a daughter of the late Captain Stanaway, of Kaipara. Mrs Nelson died in 1887 leaving two sons and two daughters, and Mr. Nelson contracted a second marriage, in 1888, with a daughter of the late Mr Heavey, of Galway, Ireland.

Boiling Mud, Whakarewarewa.

Boiling Mud, Whakarewarewa.