The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 11 (June 1, 1930)
The Government Sanatorium
The Government Sanatorium.
Before you begin the famous all and half-day trips you will find many spots to interest you in and around the town itself. The foremost of these is the Government Sanatorium. This magnificent building is set well back in grounds of surpassing beauty and like no other gardens in the world they are unique for their display of thermal activity. Clustered close together near the entrance gates are numerous hot pools, bubbling, spouting and throwing off wisps of steam with ceaseless activity. Lest you venture too near, however, they are well guarded by strong iron-piping fences. Here in these grounds, when you want a rest from strenuous sight-seeing, you can spend many a happy, idle hour. The giant arms of trees will shade you on the grass; soft paths winding in and out will take you to mazes of carefully tended flowers and shrubs; or, if you are one of those holiday makers of inexhaustible energy, there are croquet and tennis lawns and bowling greens all laid down in grass and kept in perfect order. It is a point of interest that, while the town is under the control of the Borough Council, the Sanatorium and grounds are administered exclusively by the Tourist Department. From as far back as the page 51 'eighties until as recently as 1922 the whole town was controlled by that Department but, in response to agitation, the Rotorua Borough Council Act was passed and since 1923 the Council, with the single exception mentioned, has had full control. Two of the Councillors, however, are still nominated by the Government, not elected.
The Sanatorium itself is famous throughout the world for the curative work daily carried on by the harnessing and application of mineral waters drawn from the surrounding hot springs. Many people come from great distances to get rid of otherwise incurable ailments and among the latest sufferers to seek relief is the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Sir Joseph Ward. You may take treatment either as an indoor or an outdoor patient. Accommodation for indoor patients consists of open wards and cubicles only at a fee of £3 3s. a week, which includes baths, treatments and other incidentals as well as residence. The wide range of complaints of which sufferers have, in many instances been completely cured, include nearly every kind of gout and rheumatism, sciatica, neuralgia, anaemia, skin diseases such as eczema, neurasthenia, heart - disease, muscular wasting, debility and constipation. In addition to the mineral baths specifically recommended for special complaints, there is a massage department very completely fitted up with modern electrical apparatus in the hands of registered operators who have been trained in the latest methods. But the Sanatorium is not only a Mecca for the invalid, it has also its attractions for the casual visitor. Apart altogether from those in the main building, there are several large detached baths where, for a few pence, you can indulge in a hot swimming bath at certain times each day and evening. To move lazily about in these soft clinging waters that give you the most delicious sensations of rest, warmth and comfort is to experience only one of the infinite pleasures of Rotorua. Like a beautiful woman is this place, inexhaustible in its attractions, always surprising you with some new form of wonder and delight. I have touched here only sketchily on the Sanatorium and grounds. After you have seen all the sights, you will still return to Rotorua when you can, as so many do already, just for the sake of sauntering round these beautiful gardens, playing your favourite sport, and bathing luxuriously like the Romans of old.
Another healing institution known as King George V. Hospital is situated on a piece of rising ground called Pukeroa Hill, a little to the northwest of the Sanatorium. It was founded during the War for the treatment of wounded soldiers, but has since been acquired by the Health Department and is now also used for civilians. Special attention is given to children suffering from infantile paralysis while extensive use is also made of mineral waters pumped up from the Kuirau Reserve, a wilderness of thermal activity in ground covering several acres in extent below and on the far side.