OUR STORY A sense of place

We pay homage to our tūpuna (ancestors) who walked this whenua (land) long before us, with a selection of wellbeing experiences drawn from Ngāti Whakaue and its centuries-old practices, combined with the healing properties of nature.

wai ariki chiefly waters

Haere whakamua, hoki whakamuri – Looking to the past to support the future.

Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa is grounded in te ao Māori (Māori worldview) and Ngāti Whakaue healing practices. This unique spa and wellness experience offers authentic manaakitanga – the centuries-old and internationally-renowned concept of welcoming and caring for manuhiri (visitors).

Wai Ariki means ‘chiefly waters’ and directly connects to the origin of Rotorua’s geothermal waters which were called to Aotearoa (New Zealand) by Ngātoroirangi – the ariki (great chief) and tohunga (priest) of the Arawa waka (vessel) that brought Ngāti Whakaue ancestors to Aotearoa from Hawaiki.

Ngātoroirangi became overcome by snow, ice and wind on the peaks of Mt Tongariro, and prayed to his sisters in Hawaiki to send fire to revive him. Te Pupu and Te Hoata, the subterranean goddesses of fire, made their mark on our land as they desperately searched for their brother. Finally, they reached Ngātoroirangi, bringing heat and fire, saving him from certain death, and leaving behind the geothermal resource we draw on today.

It is said that the sisters of Ngātoroirangi rested longer in Ōhinemutu – the ancestral home of Ngāti Whakaue and the whenua (land) on which Wai Ariki has been developed – which imbued the area with a special potency, providing its unique healing powers.

The elders of Ngāti Whakaue have always known and used the innate healing properties of the waters in their whenua. They would visit the waiariki (hot springs) in conjunction with immersion in the contrasting waipuna (cold springs), for therapy and healing.

These traditional practices are at the heart of the Wai Ariki spa journey, offering the same healing benefits for manuhiri from across Aotearoa (New Zealand) and around the world.

Frequently asked questions

Before your arrival, we kindly ask you to take a moment to peruse our FAQs and familiarise yourself with our terms and conditions.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Operating Hours

Wai Ariki is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Restorative Journey Wai Whakaora

Pools Daily: 9:00AM – 10:00PM (Latest arrival 8:00PM)

Private Pools
Daily: 9:00AM – 9:00PM (Latest arrival 8:00PM)

The Sanctuary Te Āhuru Mōwai

Daily: 9:00AM – 7.30PM (Latest arrival 7:30PM)

Spa Treatments
Daily: 10:00AM – 7:30PM

Sunday to Thursday: 9:00am – 5:30pm

Friday and Saturday: 9:00am – 7:00pm


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