Walking backwards into the future on the Tarawera Experience

Walking backwards into the future on the Tarawera Experience


A colourful scarred ravine streaks 17 kilometres across the peak of Mt Tarawera, a stark reminder of the eruption that took place 133 years ago today. The area remains a focal point for modern-day visitors to Rotorua, just as it was for those who first ventured here in the 1900s.
 
"Ka mua, ka muri" is a whakatauki (Maori proverb) which means "walking backwards into the future" - the idea we should look to the past to inform the future. 
 
Flying with Volcanic Air over the site of the devastating Mt Tarawera eruption and walking through the valley left in its wake, is the starting point to walking in the footsteps of Rotorua’s history. 
 
Originally the famous Māori Guide, Sophia Hinerangi, led visitors from Tarawera to the famous Pink and White Terraces.
 
140 years on, Sophia’s Tūhourangi iwi (tribe) descendents have restored her guiding legacy with Totally Tarawera. Sophia’s great great granddaughter Karen Walmsley is now sharing her stories and helping visitors discover the natural, cultural and historical wonders of the area.

From Lake Tarawera, visitors can follow the Isthmus Track to Lake Rotomahana, the youngest naturally formed lake in New Zealand. Accessed at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the boat Ariki Moana cruises across Lake Rotomahana formed by the eruption.

Visitors can literally ka mua, ka muri (walk backwards into the future) using Waimangu’s new augmented reality (AR) app during their visit. It resurrects the eighth wonder of the world - the Pink and White Terrace silica hot springs, buried under the lake by the Mt Tarawera eruption. It also brings to life the now extinct, largest geyser in the world - Waimangu Geyser, which was known to erupt up to 450 metres high, roughly the same size as the Empire State Building.
 
This gives a first-hand experience of the natural wonders of the 1900s which drew people worldwide to New Zealand.
 
Waimangu Volcanic Valley general manager, David Blackmore says the AR experience was developed using work from early explorers Ferdinand von Hochstetter and Charles Spencer, GNS Science insights and the latest locational research by NIWA, as well as old reference photos and paintings.