Tikitere

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"The Inferno" at Tikitere

Tikitere, also known as "Hell's Gate", is Rotorua's most active geothermal area on State Highway 30, between Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It includes many geothermal features including steaming lakes, mudpools, fumaroles, a mud volcano and Kakahi, the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tikitere, the Maori name for the area is derived from the tragic action of a Maori princess, Hurutini, the young wife of an abusive and shameful chief, who threw herself into the boiling hot pool that bears her name today. Upon finding her daughter's body floating in the hot pool, Hurutini's mother cried out a sad lament "Aue teri nei tiki" ("here lies my precious one"), which was shortened to Tikitere and became the name from the thermal reserve and the surrounding area.

"Hellsgate", its most commonly known name, was used following the visit to the geothermal reserve by noted Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw in the early 1900s who likened the area to the comments that were made by his theologian colleagues back in England who were explaining to him that the result of the error of his ways as a practising atheist would result in his "going to hell". What he saw at Tikitere moved him to believe that this would be the gateway to hell. His visit to Tikitere was well received by the local Maori owners of the land and as an honour to note the occasion of his visit the owners decided that this would be the English name for the geothermal area.

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Coordinates: 38°03′54″S 176°21′40″E / 38.065°S 176.361°E / -38.065; 176.361