The Buried Village of Te Wairoa Blog

Buried Village Featured in Research Uncovering Pink and White Terrace Locations

18 July 2017

Recent published research by Rex Bunn and Sascha Nolden has finally plotted the lost locations of the Pink and White Terraces of old Lake Rotomahana. In their June 2017 Royal Society paper (Forensic cartography with Hochstetter’s 1859 Pink and White Terraces survey: Te Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata, by Rex Bunn & Sascha Nolden, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, June 2017): the authors recount how the Buried Village became instrumental in their search and eventual discovery of the lost Pink, Black and White Terrace locations.

Using forensic cartography, the authors reverse engineered the forgotten 1859 survey of old Lake Rotomahana and the Pink and White Terraces. This one-of-a-kind survey was made by the visiting German geologist and explorer Ferdinand Hochstetter. His field diary with the survey notes had lain forgotten in the family archive in Basel Switzerland, until rediscovered by Dr Sascha Nolden in 2010 and returned to New Zealand where it was passed to Rex Bunn in 2016.

Using the original subdivision plans for Te Wairoa, the Buried Village (which were located in the files of Cheal Consultants in Rotorua), Bunn used an azimuth from the Rev S.M. Spencer’s parsonage at Te Mu; to plot the coordinates of Hochstetter’s survey observation station on the shores of the old lost Lake Rotomahana. His field research locating the position of the old parsonage up on the ridge at Te Mu used a bearing from the front porch of the old Rotomahana Hotel, now excavated and accessible at the Buried Village.

Hochstetter stayed with the Rev Spencer on the night before tramping across country from Te Wairoa, passing Lake Tarawera en route to Lake Rotomahana. Normally tourists would travel by canoe but the wind was too strong for canoes to take him across Lake Tarawera that day. He spent the 28-30 April making his survey at Lake Rotomahana and writing up twenty-four pages in his diary about the wonders at the lake. On April 30, 1859 he returned to the parsonage, celebrating his 30th birthday there that evening and spending further days at Te Mu writing up his research as the weather worsened and delayed his departure.

Today, visitors to the area can retrace part of Hochstetter’s walk via the middle section of the Tarawera Trail, where it follows the old TÅ«hourangi path from Te Wairoa to Lake Rotomahana.


Full Research Article: Forensic cartography with Hochstetter’s 1859 Pink and White Terraces survey: Te Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata

Rex Bunn & Sascha Nolden

Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand

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