Unknown photographer, Bonithon No 1, c.1907, Bonithon Freehold Co. (circa 1907), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth
The Tarawhata Hot Mineral Baths in Bonithon Avenue were exploited following their search for oil in New Plymouth. In 1909 the Bonithon Freehold Petroleum Company drilled a 3004 foot hole near the Devon Intermediate School grounds.
They found no oil, but plenty of warm mineral water, which ran to waste until 1914 when J. Solomon, of New Plymouth, build a 25 metre by 12 metre bathhouse which was used as a public swimming pool, as well as several private baths, all of which were enclosed in the same concrete building.
These were popular with the public and in 1939 H. Reedman, an Egyptian herbalist, advertised the Tarawhata Mineral Baths as "the most modern in the Southern Hemisphere... which compare with the famous Kreusnach Tonic Springs in Prussia, credited with Miraculous Cures in cases of Rheumatism, Gout, Sciatica, Goitre and all Nervous Aliments as well as general Tonic for the System."
In the mid 1960's the baths were closed to the public but they continued to be used for several years by swimmers in training.
In 1999 the Bonithon Spa Health Co. Ltd re-established this historical bathhouse.
Its 29,000 year old mineral water continues to be an alkaline drinking and bathing resource with many health benefits.
Slowly travelling underground, as it migrates through the aquifer, the water reacts with the sediment and minerals are formed between the water and rock formations. It then escapes under artesian pressure from the 3004 ft. (1000m) Bonthion 1 Well.
The well was drilled for oil exploration in 1906. They found no oil, but plenty of warm mineral water which ran to waste until 1914 when J. Solomon of New Plymouth built the Tarawhata Mineral Baths.
Pure One water is carbon dated at 29,000 years old (NIWA). This is the only water of its type on the New Zealand market today.
Hooker & Co., Litho, Bonithon Freehold and Petroleum Extended Company, Ltd (circa 1913), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth
Unknown Architect, Mineral Water Bath Building [plans], created for Mr H Reedman, Bonithon Avenue, New Plymouth (date unknown), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth