New research shows age and therapeutic benefits of Hanmer Springs’ thermal waters

2nd August 2015

The water that comes out of the bore at the Thermal Pools and Spa complex was analysed by Eurofins and GNS Science.

General Manager of Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa Graeme Abbot says this is the first time the complex has known how old its water is.

“We’ve always known that the water falls as rain onto the Hanmer plains and mountains before seeping into underground reservoirs where they’re warmed by heat from the earth’s core before rising back to the surface...but we never knew how long that took,” says Graeme.

Graeme Abbot says the research has been eye-opening for the team at the Thermal Pools and Spa.

“It’s amazing to think that the water coming out of our bore today, fell as rain around 173 years ago – in around 1842. That’s just two years after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and around the time the first European settlers were arriving in Canterbury. It makes you realise just how slow and special the natural process of warming and enriching these waters is,” says Graeme.

The analysis also shows the waters are rich in bathing salts and are alkaline (with a pH of 8.7).

“Again, this makes them excellent for bathing in. Alkaline water is better for your skin and bathing salts can improve circulation and relieve stress – especially in hot water,” says Graeme.

“We’re not saying our waters are a miracle cure for serious conditions but the research shows they do have therapeutic benefits, can help relieve pain and relax both body and mind. It’s no wonder the waters have always attracted New Zealanders in need of recouperation – including early travelling Maori and our soldiers after both World Wars.”

“The analysis shows the process takes around 173 years and that it also results in the water being infused with a range of minerals... including sodium, sulphur and silica. All of which have therapeutic benefits.”

...research shows (the water has) therapeutic benefits, can help relieve pain and relax both body and mind. It’s no wonder the waters have always attracted New Zealanders in need of recouperation"

Graeme Abbot

Sodium can help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, sulphur can relieve skin conditions and silica is known for its anti-ageing properties.

Graeme Abbot says the research has also made the pools’ team even more aware of how precious the waters are.

“The research has also made us feel quite proud of the water and now we know its story, you’ll find us telling anyone who’ll listen about our thermal water as often as we can,” laughs Graeme. “That’s started with a new logo which is a simple drop of water... showcasing the lifeblood of our organisation.”

“It’s been quite a journey for us as an organisation to commission, receive and understand the research and I think (if you’ll pardon the pun) it’s a bit of a watershed moment for us and one we won’t forget as we grow and move forward.”

“We now have an even deeper respect for the water and will ensure we keep reviewing and improving our operation to ensure we look after this precious natural resource for generations to come,” says Graeme.

Click here to discover more about Hanmer Springs Thermal Resort