Sulphur Lake is located at the southern end of Government Gardens.
This artificial lake was created around 1908 to provide a tranquil setting for patients at the nearby Sanatorium Hospital and Bath House.
Over the years the pathways around the lake had become neglected, so in 2013 a project begun to clear the vegetation and establish new pathways. A new footbridge, the Memorial Bridge, was built using recycled materials from the footbridge that use to cross Utuhina Stream. The Memorial Bridge was dedicated at an official opening on 5 August 2014 to start Rotorua’s World War I centennial commemorations.
Currently there are 17 sculptures dotted around the lake as part of the Sulphur Lake Sculpture Trail. These sculptures were created for Rotorua’s first Sculpture Symposium, which was held from 29 November to 12 December 2014. The artworks are based on the theme ‘The Returning Soldier’, and are on display as part of WWI commemorations.
Sulphur Lake has a close connection in the recuperation and healing process for returned soldiers, who would walk the perimeter of the lake.
The sculptures are for sale. Any sculpture that is sold will be replaced with a similar piece of work by the artist. The works will stay on view until the next sculpture symposium in late 2016.
As part of the symposium judges selected Anna Korver’s piece ‘The White Mouse’, depicting New Zealand war heroine Nancy Wake, to win a $10,000 prize and be part of the Council’s permanent art collection. The Council also purchased a second piece ‘The Ghost Soldier’ by Rory McDougall. The Rotorua Energy Trust has purchased a further two pieces for the city ‘Forever Remembered’ by Paul Bottomley and ‘Tank Tramp’ by Jamie Pickernell. These four pieces will remain on display on the sculpture trail.
The sculpture symposium will be held every two years.