New heartbreaking photos of Waiwera Thermal Resort hot pools' demise has been captured.
Waiwera Thermal Springs was shut a year ago for renovations, but there has been no work done on the site since September.
Now new photos have revealed the decrepit state the once-popular tourist attraction is now in.
Photographer Chelsea Bauer ventured inside behind closed doors to reveal the true tragedy of what has become of many Kiwis' favourite water park.
"I was pretty gutted when I first entered. I wasn't expecting it to be that bad. There was stuff everywhere.
"Waiwera was a place full of happiness. You'd spend the whole day there and it was such a good time with your family. I remember spending the hours racing my brothers down the water slides. It would never get old."
Bauer's eerie photos show graffitied walls, murky pools, piles of dirt, overgrown gardens, decaying rides, stained floors, severe rust and lifeless statues.
Renovation work has been paused, and some buildings are missing roofs or have been left half-finished. All of the water slides have been dismantled, except one.
Bauer said that while it's heartbreaking to see the demise of many children's memories of Waiwera, she wanted to capture its tragic beauty.
"Coming back years later, it was eerie. Some would find it horrifying to see what Waiwera has become.
"I just wanted to capture something from a different perspective. I wanted to find its beauty and showcase the decay and illustrate just how some of the happiest places can change."
The landowners cancelled the lease in October because of unpaid bills dating back two years.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Khimich's company purchased the leasehold interest in the property in 2010.
WPL project director Evan Vertue has said he did not welcome the move but the company was left with no other option but to cancel the lease.
"We have reluctantly re-entered the premises due to continual tenant default and consider this option a last resort."
The businesses on the site were closed earlier this year for refurbishments, but Vertue said there had been no activity on the site since early September.
He said the thermal resort had been closed to the public since February 2018.
Locals have called the resort "a bloody mess" because of its partially completed state and say the ongoing closure is not helping businesses in the small waterfront town north of Auckland.
It has also been reported that water bores in the township have been overflowing since the hot pools shut down.
Late last year, an Australian company expressed an interest in taking up the lease and re-opening the pools.
First set up in 1848, Waiwera was New Zealand's first tourist spa. It was fully commercialised in 1875 and at its peak had 350,000 visitors a year.
A spokesperson for the property owner, Evan Vertue, said:
"We understand the curiosity around the current state of Waiwera Thermal Resort. However, we need to remind people that any access without consent is unauthorised and not only are they trespassing on private property but are also putting themselves and others at personal safety risk.
"Trespassing on the property is prohibited. Like all past users who remember the resort in its heyday, we are also saddened by the current situation. The former business entity which held a lease over the property is in liquidation and there are legal processes to be completed before steps can be taken to restore the property."