Hotel purchase could lead into major tourism developments

EDITORIAL

New Te Puia Springs Hotel owner Shiu Liu, known as Job, has bought into what could be a major development opportunity for the East Coast and wider district.

Redevelopment of the Te Puia hot springs just behind the hotel is one of 22 specific tourism development opportunities listed for the district in the Destination Development Plan prepared for Tourism Eastland last year.

The cost of such a development was estimated at $5 million, with a wider opportunity to create a wellness spa trail linking it with Morere Hot Springs, other natural springs in the region, the Waikura mud lakes (after consultation with landowners), and wellness products such as manuka honey-based oils etc — seen as costing a further $1m, potentially in a public/private partnership.

The plan noted research was needed to see if it was possible to improve and remarket the springs, and confirm there were no health or safety risks. The plan also said potential may exist to link the hot springs with attractions in nearby Tokomaru Bay, where there are plans to redevelop the wharf and surrounding heritage buildings, and to develop a variety of overnight experiences.

A major challenge is that Te Puia is slipping slowly seawards, so new pools would need to be able to handle a bit of movement.

Natural warm ponds at Te Puia were used historically by Maori for medicinal benefits. A hospital was built there in 1907 partly because of this, and pools and bath-houses were developed in the 1930s around the same time the two-storey hotel was opened, having originally been built as an accommodation house at the end of World War 1. The pools went into decay and decline in the 1960s and ’70s.

Job is fortunate that previous owner Knox Toheriri is staying on to help out. Reviews on the website TripAdviser show what a good host he has been.

The Gisborne Herald story of the ownership change has also proved a great advertisement, reaching 27,300 people on our Facebook page and attracting overwhelmingly positive comments from people reminiscing about Te Puia, the hotel and the springs.

New Te Puia Springs Hotel owner Shiu Liu, known as Job, has bought into what could be a major development opportunity for the East Coast and wider district.

Redevelopment of the Te Puia hot springs just behind the hotel is one of 22 specific tourism development opportunities listed for the district in the Destination Development Plan prepared for Tourism Eastland last year.

The cost of such a development was estimated at $5 million, with a wider opportunity to create a wellness spa trail linking it with Morere Hot Springs, other natural springs in the region, the Waikura mud lakes (after consultation with landowners), and wellness products such as manuka honey-based oils etc — seen as costing a further $1m, potentially in a public/private partnership.

The plan noted research was needed to see if it was possible to improve and remarket the springs, and confirm there were no health or safety risks. The plan also said potential may exist to link the hot springs with attractions in nearby Tokomaru Bay, where there are plans to redevelop the wharf and surrounding heritage buildings, and to develop a variety of overnight experiences.

A major challenge is that Te Puia is slipping slowly seawards, so new pools would need to be able to handle a bit of movement.

Natural warm ponds at Te Puia were used historically by Maori for medicinal benefits. A hospital was built there in 1907 partly because of this, and pools and bath-houses were developed in the 1930s around the same time the two-storey hotel was opened, having originally been built as an accommodation house at the end of World War 1. The pools went into decay and decline in the 1960s and ’70s.

Job is fortunate that previous owner Knox Toheriri is staying on to help out. Reviews on the website TripAdviser show what a good host he has been.

The Gisborne Herald story of the ownership change has also proved a great advertisement, reaching 27,300 people on our Facebook page and attracting overwhelmingly positive comments from people reminiscing about Te Puia, the hotel and the springs.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    The council estimates $13.2 million of work is needed on private drainage systems to help limit wastewater discharges into city rivers, along with $25m-$65m more work on the public wastewater and stormwater systems. Do you think private property owners should pay to repair their systems, the council, or a council subsidy such as interest-free loans?