Not here today #11


Rotorua Museum, Government Gardens, Rotorua. Image: Su Leslie

The Bath House in Rotorua was opened in 1908 as a spa where visitors could “take the waters” from the city’s extensive network of thermal springs. It was the New Zealand government’s first major investment in tourism.

This rather grand half-timbered building, built (for some reason) in the Elizabethan Revival style, was designed by Dr Arthur Stanley Wohlmann — a balneologist (expert on medicinal springs) appointed by the government to advise on the development of New Zealand’s thermal areas into spa-style resorts.

In 1947, management of the building was transferred to the government’s Health Department, and the facilities continued to be used for medicinal purposes until the 1960s.

Rotorua Museum opened in the south wing of the Bath House in 1969; Rotorua Art Gallery opened in the north wing in 1977. In 1988, the museum and gallery combined to form the Rotorua Museum of Art and History.

In late 2016, the building was assessed as not meeting New Zealand’s new earthquake standards, and closed indefinitely.



Rotorua Museum

Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand: Arthur Wohlmann

20 thoughts on “Not here today #11

    • Isn’t it! I remember going to the nightclub that used to be in a rather grand ballroom on the first floor. I’m not really a clubber, but I did love the venue.
      Sadly, since the Christchurch, and particularly Kaikoura, earthquakes have improved our understanding of how buildings behave, heritage structures throughout the whole country are in a similar situation.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I hope so too, but Rotorua is heavily dependent on overseas tourism and Covid-19 has really hit the city hard. The hope is that when the pandemic “dust” settles, central government will help fund the strengthening.


        • Yes. There have been warning voices for years about how unsustainable it is (even before Covid), and if ever there was a time to re-think how to manage people’s desire to travel in an increasingly fragile world, it is now.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Going back to the ’60s and ’70s travel was much more expensive and maybe cheap flights have contributed to the reason that so many places are overwhelmed by tourists now. I’m not sure how we can go back to that time though as everyone now thinks they are entitled to cheap travel.


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