Land drainage for farming has reduced sinter deposits at Waikite Geothermal Field, but hot springs, geysers and other natural features remain. The Department of Conservation is restoring the large geothermal wetland and returning farmland to its natural state.
Waikite has hot springs, geysers, warm lakes, craters and sulphur deposits.
In the early 1980s, a new spring formed and started geyser activity close to overhead high tension power lines. The HT Geyser used to erupt 5 – 8 m high many times daily during the 1980s.
Thermal ferns are present including: Nephrolepsis sp. 'thermal', Dicranopteris linearis, Christella sp. 'thermal' and Cyclosaurus interruptus.
This field may be connected to the Waiotapu and Waimangu fields.
Waikite is part of the Waikite - Waiotapu - Waimangu geothermal system, which is classified as protected by Waikato Regional Council.
The springs are still depositing sinter, but sinter deposition has greatly reduced since the area has been developed for farming and much of the low lying ground has been drained. Further land drainage could further damage the springs.
The North Gully Springs are located below the road, so gravel and litter from passing traffic falls into the springs. These Springs are very vulnerable to damage from roadworks.
At the Waikite Scarp Swamp Springs, blackberry is smothering native plants. The blackberry also prevents stock from accessing and crushing the algal sinters. Clearing the blackberry could put these formations at risk.
The sinter now present around the Manuroa Spring site appears virtually identical to that shown in a photo taken in the 1890s. Here, the sinter extends for more than 1m wide around the pool edges and in thick deposits along the outflow channel.
Manuroa is believed to have the largest volume of outflow of all sinter springs in New Zealand. Access to it has been developed by the proprietor of the nearby thermal bathing pools.
No geysers have been active in recent years.