My entire family is from New Zealand. I’m the only Australian-born member and my relatives constantly talked of NZ but…..someone forgot to mention the Pink and White Terraces (which Maori refer to as “fountain of the clouded sky“). I’ve only heard about this amazing piece of news since living in NZ. Did you know that the eighth wonder of the world was said to be these terraces? Nah, me neither.

So apparently, back in the 19th Century, on the edges of Rotorua’s Lake Rotomahana, terrace formations cascaded down a hill slope in a fan-like pattern. The terraces were formed by geothermally heated water. Pink and white silica deposits were left by geysers spewing out siliceous sinter (silica-rich fluid). The terraces were a major tourist attraction until June 10, 1886 when Mount Tarawera decided to blow up and the terraces disappeared into the lake.

But NZ and American scientists have recently rediscovered the terraces 60 metres below Lake Rotomahana. A number of local Maoris died in the eruption so I don’t know what will happen should scientists decide to explore the terraces. Because areas where Maori ancestors died are ‘tapu’ or taboo and should be left undisturbed.

Here are some images of the Pink and White Terraces. Note that these photos are not my own – I was not around with my Nikon in the 1880s, not quite anyway.

I found the images here, here and here.

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