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Two local architecture firms were invited by Rotorua Lakes Council to each submit a proposal for a suite of buildings and structures, for an upgrade of the twin geothermal footpools located within New Zealand’s only geothermal public park, situated within the heart of Rotorua City. 


Project vision and brief: 


“To create a unique recreation and relaxation experience in an iconic Rotorua setting.”

The upgrade of the twin footpools at Kuirau Park will transform this iconic park feature into an irresistible attraction for relaxation and recreation. Rotorua locals and tourists can enjoy a unique experience free of charge in a natural New Zealand setting. Emanating Rotorua’s distinct identity through geothermal and cultural themes, the footpools will be a must–see experience that promotes and supports the growth and promotion of Rotorua as a destination.


  • Features that make this destination iconic

  • Modern cultural references or representation in built form

  • Integration with the unique geothermal native environment and vegetation

  • Family – friendly and easily accessible spaces

  • CPTED referenced design and layout

  • Architectural elements that allow harmony and focus on the surrounding landscape


Legend tells us that a beautiful young woman named Kuiarau was bathing in the waters when a taniwha dragged her to his lair below the lake. The gods above were infuriated and made the lake boil so that the Taniwha would be destroyed forever. 


The name, Te Waimirimiri o Te Kuirau describes the combination of water, relaxation and massaging waters associated with geothermal bathing.


The design is a contemporary expression of traditional Maori building forms and philosophies resulting in an architecture that responds directly to the uniqueness of Aotearoa New Zealand.


The design, in line with Rotorua’s Council’s Wood First Policy, features laminated ACCOYA WOOD with stainless steel components to suit the highly corrosive geothermal environment.

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