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Discover a place where outdoor adventure sports is a pastime. Find a town created by a paper mill. Kawera Paper Mill established in 1953 effectively founded the town of Kawera. The town motto should be adventure sports with the small town offering a range of adrenaline adventure activities.
In July 2021 the Kawerau Paper Mill closed its doors permanently.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
Lake Rotoma and Joe Kemp’s sculpture gallery is a popular destination for locals who are not engaged in various adventure sports.
ADVENTURE SPORTS – KAWERAU KING OF THE MOUNTAIN RACE
An annual race up a dormant volcano, Putauaki Mount Edgecumbe. The mountain’s lower slopes are covered in radiatus pine forest and the upper slopes in low lying scrubby bush. The track is steep, poorly defined with lava scoria and mud tracks creating a very challenging course. The course is approximately 7 km return and considered one of the toughest mountain races in Australasia.
For details check 66th Kawerau King of the Mountain | Saturday, 20th November 2021
Usually access to the mountain is controlled, and a permit is required to climb the mountain. Due to safety concerns it is necessary to climb in groups of at least 4 people, and the office (Kawera Visitor Information Centre) issues permits on weekdays.
Check Kawerau Visitor Information for details. Putauaki (Mt Edgecumbe) is clearly visible from almost everywhere on the Rangitaiki Plains.
Tarawera Ultramarathon – Tarawera Ultramarathon | Rotorua, New Zealand starts in nearby Rotorua. Tarawera Ultramarathon, 102 km is an iconic trail taking in the most stunning scenery imaginable, featuring eight different lakes, waterfalls, and the lushest native New Zealand forests.
CANOE SLALOM RACING
Kawerau has a purpose built venue for canoe slalom racing with a whitewater slalom course. It has recently been upgraded with a new viewing walkway and electronic timing system. The Tarawera River sits at the foot of Putauaki and passes through a stunning scenic reserve. Perfect for casual paddlers and spectators to enjoy the action on the river. Contact the visitor information centre for details.
Seriously Social Rafting – Rafting Adventure, New Zealand Kawerau’s rafting fraternity series has been rafting since 2009 on the rapids of the Tarawera River. For details contact the group’s Facebook page.
MAURIE KJAR MEMORIAL POOL
The public swimming pool sources geothermal energy to heat the pools. The well maintained complex offers visitors a 30m pool divided by a bulkhead into a 25m pool and a 5m pool, and two smaller pools for children. All pools have some shade.
WHAT TO DO NEARBY
- Tarawera waterfalls and Lake Rotoma are ½ hour drive from Kawerau
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Public pools
- Tarawera falls campsite
- Visit Waitangi Soda Spring geothermal hot mineral pools
- Pick an adventure sport and hang on for dear life
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Lake Tarawera jetty at sunset
- Your adventure sport activity
- John Rowles, a music crooner (singer)
- Ria van Dyke (Miss New Zealand 2010)
- Sarah Walker (world champion BMX rider)\
- Good as wood.
- 7,460 (2020)
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE
- Kawerau was a grandson of the chief Toi Kai Rakau and means “the carrier of the leaves”.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum resources are accessed through the Kawerau Library. The Museum holds and displays a wide range of resources relating to the history of Kawerau. Resources include local historical newspapers and newsletters, as well as photographs and ephemera which are separately stored in the Council Archives & Museum Storage building 16-18 Jellicoe Court, Kawerau. Most of this is in the process of being digitised but some material is available for viewing at
Manawahe Kokako Trust operates on private land and is now New Zealand’s fourth-largest kokako colony. Thanks to pest control the population has risen from nine to more than 50, indeed all native birds are thriving.
Most of the geothermal surface features are believed to have been in a natural state of decline prior to development of the field in the 1950s. Large springs at Rotoitipaku and Umapokapoka (Onepu) recorded in 1903 were generally absent when energy development started in the 1950s. The decline in surface activity accelerated with industrial development and with increased demand for energy use.
Kawerau District Council operates public thermally heated pools in the township. There are also motel pools and the private Savage Whānau Pool, which is used for bathing (fed with separated water from the mill supply system).
Geothermal vegetation, made up of prostrate kanuka and mingimingi, is found in the Parimahana Scenic Reserve, Te Taukahiwi o Tirotirowhetu Scenic Reserve, and land to the north in the west of the field, north of Kawerau township.
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