New Zealand police say they have recovered the body of a man from a hot pool at Kuirau Park, opposite Rotorua hospital on Ranolf Street.
Our regular readers may recall that Kuirau Park is an open stretch of municipal parkland containing geothermal mud pools surrounded by low fencing. There have a been a number of deaths and scaldings in the park, which also has a children’s playground, raising questions about the adequacy of fences around the hot pools.
On Boxing Day 2010 the tragic death of eight year old Toromon Toromon caused Rotorua District Council to review its warning signs
they were also supposed to have investigated the effectiveness of the fences that surround the geothermal pools in the park gardens. Toromon suffered severe burns to 95% of his body after he fell into a superheated mud pool.
Here’s a photo from a tourist’s blog dated March 2015. Visitors are obviously well aware there’s a problem in the park (note the climbable tree so close to the fence)
“The pond there was unfenced, bubbling, and smelled of sulphur and we had to laugh at how different Yellowstone would have been if they had decided to commercialize it and turn it into a city instead of a national park.”
In 2011 a 12-year-old girl fell into a hot mudpool, causing the skin to peel from her legs. The girl slipped after going for a swim in a nearby stream.
As you can see from the picture above, fences are relatively low and look easy to climb. The top rails are at hip-height, easy for an adult to topple over. They even have what looks like a toe-hold at the bottom for shorter people. Do these barriers meet the same ‘anti-climb’ standards as the domestic pool fencing Rotorua council requires its householders to install?
Park has a bad reputation for assaults
Apart from the obvious geothermal dangers the park has something of a dubious reputation for assaults and sex attacks (including that of a 15 year old girl) it is generally considered not to be safe after dark..
A couple of years ago 21 year old Rotorua baker Rawiri James Samuel and an un-named 20 year old male were charged with murder. Two youths aged 14 and 15 were later charged with assault in connection with a death in Kuirau Park. Roman Henry Skorek suffered stab wounds to his face and body during the attack. He had recently arrived from Niue to Rotorua and had been staying at the Crash Palace Backpackers hostel in Rotorua every summer for the past 5 years.