Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools officially open

10 September, 2009

A blessing of the Glacier Hot Pools on Friday 11 September at Franz Josef will mark the official opening of the West Coast’s first commerical hot pools complex.

Local kaumatua Richard Wallace and the Makaawhio Runanga will conduct the blessing and the offical opening ceremony of the Ngai Tahu Tourism and Joseph Developments (Franz) Limited joint venture project.

More than 25,000 visitors have enjoyed the Glacier Hot Pools experience since its doors opened in November 2008. The development of the multi-million dollar complex has provided an important opportunity for the rūnanga to develop their relationship with the tourism company and to help guide and strengthen the cultural components of the project.

“This is a great example of collaboration, where runanga aspirations to contrbute to the local community and the business accumen of the tourism company can work together to produce quality regional assets that acknowledge important Ngai Tahu legends and history,” says Ngai Tahu Tourism General Manager John Thorburn.

The runanga have enhanced the visitor experience through the retelling of the legend of Hinehukatere, the famous female ancestor who explored the Southern Alps and is celebrated in the original name of the nearby Franz Josef Glacier; and the gifting of a mauri aotea (touch stone) that will welcome visitors in the reception area.

The Glacier Hot Pools complex has been constructed to the highest international standards. It includes a reception and changing room facility, three main pools and three private pools connected by raised wooden boardwalks nestled in lush native forest a short walk from the town centre.

“From the outset the vision was to ‘touch the land lightly’ and through bringing together a talented and committed group of contractors we have been able to achieve this by working in harmony with the natual landscape and taking every care to preserve and protect the native forest setting.

“We have had overwhelming feedback about the facilities. The complex design has won two building awards and it has quickly become a popular attraction and natural addition to the Franz Josef visitor experience that will continue to go from strength to strength,” says Thorburn.