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The History of Taupo DeBretts
For more than a century, people have been flocking to the natural mineral waters that now makes up Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs. These healing waters are sourced from the picturesque Onekeneke valley, a favorite bathing spot among early Maori inhabitants. Since the Armed Constabulary moved into the Taupo area, in the mid nineteenth century, this bathing spot has been extensively upgraded to become a favorite spot for tens of thousands of visitors.
The first European to discover this water was Sir William Fox. In a letter to the then Premier, Sir Julius Vogel, 1874, he wrote
"... At the distance of a mile from the Constabulary Post and Township, along the eastern shore of the lake, a warm stream, a yard or two wide across the road and meanders into the lake. Following it inland by a Maori track, a narrow gorge is reached in which the small stream expands into two considerable pools, varying in depth from a few inches to several feet. They are both of considerable temperature and a favorite bathing spot of the local natives".
However, Fox deemed the task of making the pools into a "place of general resort" too demanding, and did not further his interest.
The Black Terrace, located at the head of the valley and originally formed during the Taupo eruption of AD 186, was later destroyed in the 1931 Napier earthquake. Ross improved the pools to such an extent, that the 1894 Wills' guide book described the hot lake (serpentine lake) created by the two pools, as
"the finest natural swimming bath in the thermal district".
At the foot of the lake was a spout bath, and at its head the iron bath. These bath houses still remain, however access is difficult due to the growth of vegetation. The original water source of these bathhouses, the black terrace springs have been destroyed by development further up the valley.