Tongariro Times - December 2011

Tongariro Times December 2011


Kites Will Take to Sky Again this New Year's Day

Project Tongariro's annual Kite Day is always a great day out for the whole family.  NZ Kitefliers Association will once again join Project Tongariro and DOC on the golf course below Bayview Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa Village on 1 January 2012.  Bring your own kite and join in on the fun or just come to watch as kites of all shapes and sizes take to the skies with Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe as their backdrop.  There is a free paper kite making kit for the kids as well as a sausage sizzle. 

From 10.30am.  Weather and wind dependent.  If you can help out on the day, contact Kiri on


Rotopounamu Update - $40,000 Funding Confirmed for 2011/12 Season

Project Tongariro is pleased to confirm that several grant applications have recently been successful, to the tune of $40,000, which secures the 2011/2012 summer forest restoration programme at Rotopounamu. The grants are from Huckleberry’s Sports and Charitable Society ($5,000) , Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate ($20,000), and W N Pharazyn Trust ($15,000).

Karen Williams, Project Tongariro president says the recent grants are a strong show of support for what has become the most significant forest restoration project in the district.  “The rats and stoats have been hit hard and many of the birds are making a comeback. Rifleman and the North Island robin are often seen and the larger birds like kaka, kereru and falcon have returned.”


In addition, the Adopt a Hectare initiative continues to be popular with several more adoptions since our last newsletter.  To become a kaitiaki (guardian) of a hectare and help restore the dawn chorus, hop online to view the map and to select your hectare. Adopt a Hectare

Report from Ian McNickle, Ranger Biodiversity, DOC

Recent tracking tunnels results look great, only picking up one mouse and two rats. Kevin was the only one to pick up any rodents (all on line 1) which is always subject to re-invasion being so close to the boundary of the bait station network. One possum got into a tunnel up on line 13 and weta tracking has tripled since the last round. 

December 2011 results are rats at 3% and mice at 1%.  The following graph shows the positive trend track tunnel index results from Aug 09 to Dec 11.

Pocket Ranger - Guide to the Tongariro Apline Crossing


The Pocket Ranger smartphone app for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing owned and developed by Project Tongariro in partnership with DOC is proving to be a successful initiative.  Some positive feedback by early users of the app, as well as overwhelming support from local businesses in the community, has convinced us that this was a step in the right direction for Project Tongariro.

An updated version has just been released which includes video clips for each section of the track and a built-in QR (Quick Response) Code reader so that users can scan bar codes on the track to find out more about points of interest.  The new year will see the inclusion of GPS 'you are here' functionality and an iPad version.

Go to Pocket Ranger for more info and to download the Pocket Ranger.  

Local Business Partners

Several local businesses have committed to Project Tongariro. We are excited to have the ongoing support of these businesses.  You can find their listings on The Pocket Ranger app and on our website.

Level 1 Partners


Our mission was to clean all the re-generating vegetation around the columns and pillars of this historic structure, to help preserve it.  On Saturday, only three helpers could turn up as a lot of our volunteers were tied up with 'The Goat'.  Maureen, Terry and myself trudged through the undergrowth, which was kindly marked out by DOC.  On reaching the first pylon it was difficult to know where to start due the jungle like nature of the place, but we soon sorted this out and it was all go.  A difficult part of the job was disposal of the cuttings.  By the end of the day we had many scratches on our bodies as we had come across a lot of toi toi. 

After replenishing our bodies and a good night's rest, we headed to the viaduct again with some extra crew, including Annette and Roy, Barbara and grandad (Graeme), Shirley and Ardy. 

This time we had to clean up the other side of the Taonui Stream; the terrain was steeper and more difficult than the previous day.  With more keen hands at work, and a little rain, we took control of the unwanted vegetation, with only a small amount left for our next visit.  The whole team worked hard to achieve what we did.  We also came across a few relics of the past which will end up in the Ohakune Museum


Complete the clean-up at Taonui Rail Viaduct, 29 January 2012 - HELPERS REQUIRED
Most of the vegetation around the viaduct was removed by a very enthusiastic crew. There is just half a day’s work left to do and after completion, anyone interested could wander around and check out some of the Old Coach Road not in use now.

Tools required: loppers, pruning shears, spades, gardening gloves.
NOTE: The date of Sunday 29 January is the day after the Tussock Traverse so if this event is delayed by a day due to the weather, the Taonui project will be moved to Monday 30 January.

There’s room for a few at Frank's house in Ohakune. If the numbers grow too large, we may have access to the old railway shed, which is part of the Ohakune Museum & Gallery, near the current railway station. This building is very basic, almost like a back country hut with bunk rooms, kitchen, shower and a cosy lounge. Our cost if we use this shed is $10.00 per person per night.  Meals can be organised as we go along eg shared cooking or visit one of the many local restaurants.

For any enquiries or to join in on this volunteer activity, contact Frank on 09 620 6650 or

Tussock Traverse - 28 January 2012 - Volunteers for Marshaling Needed


Similar to 'The Goat' except that Project Tongariro marshals the entire event, and looks after the entrants when they finish too with a great BBQ. It’s all good fun and Project Tongariro is the sole benefactor. This is our major fundraiser for the year and we raise in the region of $5000. Please let us know if you can help out on the day by contacting the office 

If you are keen go to to enter!

Upcoming Field Trips

Project Tongariro has some great field trips planned for 2012 - here's a heads up on what's coming up so you can plan ahead and join in.


Tukino Tops - 25/26 February 2012

A visit to the wildside of Mt Ruapehu and a chance to stay high on the mountain at Tukino Skifield (1600m). Alpine plants, great views.
Accommodation: Tukino Lodge - $25 per night; Alpine Club members & students $15. Other costs to be advised in January (4 wheel drive up mountain road, dinner & breakfast).

Email Harry Keys on with expressions of interest.


Bridge to Nowhere Mountain Bike Ride - 17/18 March 2012

One of the North Island's best mountain bike rides which includes a jet boat ride.  Project Tongariro is going to make a weekend of it. 

Full details will be available on the website soon but email Mark Davies on with expressions of interest.


Sunset Summit Red Crater Trip - 7 April 2012
(6 May 2012 contingency - full moon required )

A guided walk along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track to Red Crater at sunset.  Return trip by moonlight. Full details will be available on the website soon but email with expressions of interest.


Ark in the Park - 19/20 May 2012

A weekend experiencing Cascade Kauri Park in the Waitakere Rangers Regional Park.  Programme includes volunteer activites with local Forest & Bird members, a variety of scenic bush walks, presentation by Ark in the Park and listening to the early morning dawn chorus.  

Accommodation:  Karanga Camp, adjacent to the Cascades Kauri Park. Cost for 2 nights accommodation and all meals is $55.00 (assuming that we have an average of 20 people staying each night).   Full details will be available on the website soon but email Mary Mozingo on with expressions of interest. 


Helicopter Ride over the Waiotaka Wetlands
by Kiri Te Wano
On Wednesday 30th November, Shirley, Ardy myself and our lovely Waikato Interns Kelly & Jenny were invited by Leith Rhynd and Ian McNickle, from the DOC Turangi area, to join them on a short flight over the South Taupo Wetlands (Te Matapuna) just south of the Motuoapa Marina. 
Leith and Ian were providing this opportunity to us as we are in our 5th year of partnership with DOC to restore and preserve the native biodiversity of these wetlands.  They are one of the largest wetlands in the North Island.
The day dawned grey and rainy, but myself, Shirley, Ardy, Kelly & Jenny bravely weathered the patchy rain to await the helicopter.  After an in-depth overview of the project partnership including going over the map of the wetlands, we had a safety briefing before splitting into two groups for two short flights ‘hosted’ by Ian who commentated throughout. 

The rain thankfully held off and we got an amazing overview of the area.  We saw ‘Cabbage Tree Island’, which was in full flower, and we could easily see the grey / dying willows from previous campaigns. Sadly they do not always die after a single treatment and some require a second visit.  Ian informed us that they are still trialing and settling on ‘best practices’ for eradicating the invasive grey and crack willows. 

From the air it is easy to imagine how amazing this area will be without the invasive willows, spurring us on to continue our work in this special place.

Project Tongariro Nursery


Wednesday 21st December a 'potting up' morning' was carried out.
A huge thank you for the on-going support from Shirley, Ardy, Beth, Kevin and Gerdine who spent 3 hours Wednesday morning at the nursery behind the Project Tongariro office – not only potting up but a doing a general tidy up as well.  Shirley has been busy over the winter propogating many native seeds.  We now have lots of juvenile Pittosporums, Akeake, Five Fingers and Kahikateas.  The team had a busy time changing the seedlings over to bigger pots.


Marshalling for 'The Goat'
Jenny Hayward (Project Tongariro Intern)

On the 3rd of December the annual 'The Goat' running race was held on the round the mountain track beginning near Whakapapa Village. A number of dedicated Project Tongariro volunteers devoted their time to help out as marshals in order to keep competitors safe. Our day began at 5.30 am, when we dragged ourselves out of bed to begin preparations for the day. The weather was not overly kind to us with it being very cloudy and drizzly. However, spirits where high as we set off on our journey through the rough terrain. The distance was further than we had anticipated and by the time we reached our designated marshaling point it had 
taken us a good 3 hours! All of the competitors seemed in good spirits - as they passed many thanked us for the job we were doing. There were a few bumps and bruises but we got through the day without any major mishaps. The tail end Charlie came past at around 1.00 pm and we headed back. By this time the weather had really set in and our pace had slowed considerably, making the walk out seem much longer than our journey in. When we finally reached the exit it had taken us nearly 4 hours and we were soaking wet. Nevertheless, I think we both felt it was a good achievement for us city girls!  


DOC Summer Nature Programme


1 January to 9 January 2012

Something for everyone.  A chance to get out there and discover Tongariro National Park and the surrounding area.

For more info and bookings go to:

Phone 0800 362 925


1 January
Kite Day

4 January 
Boyd Oamaru Valley Fly and Hike

42 Traverse Mountain Bike Ride
Kids Fishing

5 January

Waimarino Wetland Kayak
Tupapakurua Falls Tramp

6 January 
Kiwi in the Wild Evening Trip
Okupata Caves Exploration
Kaimanawa Horses

7 January
Waipakihi River Heli-hike
42 Traverse 4WD Tag-a-long

8 January 
Waihohonu/Tama Lakes Traverse

9 January
Kaikawaka Villa Horse Trek and MTB Ride
Old Coach Road Historic Walk
Kiwi in the Evening Trip
Whakapapa-iti Headwaters Tramp

Remember Project Tongariro is on Facebook - 'Like' it to get all the newsfeeds!

Go ahead and 'like' us on Facebook to keep updated on everything going on with Project Tongariro from news updates to upcoming events and trips - it will all be on Facebook! 

Add photos and comments – we love to hear from you.

Event Calendar

Check out the Event Calendar on our website so you can find out about members’ field trips and volunteers activities and plan to be involved in all our upcoming events.

Roel Michels