Once upon a time, in a land north of Auckland, was an iconic thermal resort that both families and friends alike flocked to. A place where kids could scream excitedly down the waterslides, their parents relax in the warm waters, and all could convene in the movie pools for a family-friendly film.
But since 2018, Waiwera Thermal Resort has not been the same. The glimmer from the water turned a foul green. The tiles are chipped. The waterslides just became regular, dry slides. The signage barely hangs on.
And just like the waters of the Waiwera pools, all attempts to sell, lease or set up a partnership agreement for the 1.73-hectare property dried up before it could reopen.
In a "bittersweet" statement to the media, landowners Urban Partners announced that demolition crews would arrive at the Waiwera Thermal Resort site to clear the area.
"Waiwera holds a special place in the hearts and minds of so many Aucklanders and visitors, whether it was hanging with friends in the pools or hooning down the slides," Urban Partners chief executive Greig Staples said.
"The prospect of a much-needed upgrade in 2018 initially brought excitement, but when the operators went into liquidation the resort was in an unviable state," Staples said.
"Since then, it has been an ongoing struggle to secure the site against vandalism, which has degraded the property further."
"It is now at the point where the existing structures offer no value to a buyer and it will be a positive for the wider community to remove what is left of the buildings."
“The demolition process starting today is bittersweet as it represents the end of an era,” he said. “But also the beginning of Waiwera’s revitalisation.”
Colliers director of Capital Markets, Blair Peterken, said clearing the land will appeal to a wider range of buyers, explaining Waiwera was the "birthplace of New Zealand’s first spa, alongside a grand hotel, bathhouses, and later, the thermal resort we all know today".
"It is recognised as a regional tourist attraction by the Auckland Unitary Plan and has zoning allowing for business, residential developments, health and wellness, tourism, hospitality and visitor accommodation."
Colliers share that they aim to start a new sales campaign for Waiwera by spring once demolition is complete.