Te Aroha is a rural town in the Waikato region of New Zealand with a population of 3,906 people in the 2013 census, an increase of 138 people since 2006. It is 53 km northeast of Hamilton and 50 km south of Thames. It sits at the foot of 952-metre Mount Te Aroha, the highest point in the Kaimai Range.
The name Te Aroha comes from the Māori name of Mount Te Aroha. In one version, Rāhiri, the eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Rāhiri Tumutumu, climbed the mountain and saw his homeland in the distance and felt a sense of love (aroha) for it. The name is often rendered in English as „place of love“.
On 17 February 1985 Te Aroha experienced a severe flash flood that washed boulders, mud, and trees through the town. Most shops and more than 50 homes were damaged, resulting in the death of three people.
The Waihou River runs through Te Aroha. Close by to the east is the base of the Kaimai Range, and the town is overlooked by the 952-metre Mount Te Aroha. To the north of the town is the low-lying, swampy land of the Hauraki Plains. Thermal and mineral springs are both found close to the centre of the town, as is the world’s only hot soda water geyser. See Attractions.
Te Aroha is at the centre of a dairy farming community and much of its economic activity is in serving that community. Tourism is increasing in Te Aroha. The mineral baths are a very popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Historically mining played a role in the area, and has left some legacies – not all of them positive, such as toxic residues leaking from the abandoned Tui mine tailings dam. Miners cottages are in evidence.
Te Aroha is the location of the Mokena Hou Geyser, the only natural soda water geyser in the world. The geyser is located in the Te Aroha Domain, the oldest intact Edwardian domain in New Zealand.
The Hauraki Rail Trail has recently (2012) been opened, connecting the town to Paeroa and beyond.