If you’re feeling rundown in the lead-up to Christmas and in need of some spiritual and physical refreshment, you couldn’t do better than to visit and bathe in the healing waters of the Riuwaka River.
Te Puna (meaning spring of water) o Riuwaka is where the northern branch of the Riuwaka River rises from caverns deep below the Takaka Hill. The water, as pure as Pupu Springs, has run its course through marble rocks and passages down to the foot of the hill to spring out into a deep, crystal-clear pool surrounded by huge moss-covered marble boulders and towering ancient trees. The river tumbles on down the hill through a series of pools, including the stunning Crystal Pool.
Te Puna o Riuwaka (the Riuwaka Resurgence) is wahi tapu for our people, a sacred, supernatural place where our tupuna would come to cleanse and heal their bodies and sustain their spirits. Many of our tupuna lived beside the Riuwaka River, including a revered tohunga (expert/priest), named Tamati Parana, who made his tūāhu (sacred place) near the healing white stones of these waters.
The entrance to the 15 minute walk to Te Puna o Riuwaka is marked by a beautiful carved waharoa (gateway) depicting Te Ᾱtiawa o Te Waka-a-Maui on the right, Ngāti Rārua on the left. The figurehead at the top, gazing into the distance, is Hui Te Rangiora, the great explorer who is believed to have rested here during an epic voyage from Rarotonga that took him to Antarctica around 650AD.
Planning a visit to Te Puna o Riuwaka? Take SH60 from Riuwaka up the Takaka Hill and at 5km take the left fork in the road, signposted to the Resurgence. Drive another 7km alongside the river and you’ll come to a carpark and picnic area and find our beautiful waharoa at the start of the short (7 minute) walk to Te Puna o Riuwaka. If you’re planning a plunge in the Crystal Pool, be warned: it’s a very bracing 11 degrees!