When John Backhouse painted this view of Ōrākei Kōrako about 1880, there was a broad light-coloured area of geothermal activity a few metres above the Waikato River (Papa Kōwhatu). The large boiling spring in the foreground, Mimi-a-Homaiterangi, erupted irregularly as a geyser.
In 1961 a dam was built downstream to generate electricity. The level of the river was raised to form Lake Ōhakuri, and the area shown in the painting is now covered by over 15 metres of water. The remaining geothermal area at Ōrākei Korako today is only a small remnant of the original thermal activity.
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