New Zealand’s geothermal resources have been used for many years. Geothermal areas are important to Māori, who use the heated waters for cooking, washing, bathing, warmth, preserving, ceremonial use and healing. Māori also use geothermal minerals as paints, wood preservatives and dyes. In recent years, Māori have become significant players in the geothermal space with several of the major operators owned by iwi. Through many Treaty of Waitangi settlements, many iwi have had land returned to them and their traditional relationships with the geothermal resource formally recognised by the Crown.
Geothermal fields also have significant landscape, ecological, amenity, scientific and conservation value.
Other key uses include tourism, mineral extraction, direct heat use and electricity generation.
For more information on uses of geothermal energy, including New Zealand case studies –visit GNS Science’s Earth Energy webpages.