Rotorua residents were treated to a spectacular but unexpected water feature when an underground pipe burst, shooting water metres into the air.

Rotorua Lakes Council was called about the burst pipe on Froude St at 11.15am on Sunday and Infracore contractors had it fixed by 12.30pm.

Water utilities serviceman Paora Taiepa told the Rotorua Daily Post a fitting had blown off because of wear and tear, which he said could have been caused by sulphur or something in the ground.

Resident Mike McGarvey saw the water shooting into the air near the footpath outside his house and said it went for about 45 minutes.


He said the water went quite high and he had not seen anything like it around that area before.

A contractor on the scene as the water sprouts up from the ground. Photo / Stephen Parker
A contractor on the scene as the water sprouts up from the ground. Photo / Stephen Parker

"I just thought 'wow' because it sprouted up quite fast and stayed that height until they [contractors] stopped it."

McGarvey said the children at their home had thought it was "spectacular".

He said their water was turned off for about 15 minutes while contractors worked on the pipe.

A man, who did not wish to be named, said he had heard about the incident after it started.

When he went outside to investigate, workers were "isolating" the water, he said.

Rotorua Lakes Council manager water services Eric Cawte said: "Concrete and metal pipes and fittings don't tend to last as long in strongly geothermal areas due to the corrosive nature of sulphur, and that's factored into our renewals programme.

"We don't get significantly more frequent leaks or breaks in those areas because we factor in the shorter lifespan, and in some cases we are able to replace things with more modern materials that aren't as susceptible to sulphur corrosion."