Tongariro Times December 2014


Tongariro Times December 2014


Mahi Aroha Summer Programme


Explore & Discover Tongariro National Park & the Taupō Region

Enjoy and affordable holiday experience with family & friends

Experience unique conservation activities with us

Participate in the Summer Nature Programme

For more information and bookings - or 0800 362 925

1 Jan 2015Kite Day2 Jan 2015Waimarino Wetland Kayak
PP Kite Day3 Jan 2015Boyd Omaru
Pukawa Omori Conservation Hikoi6 Jan 2015Volcanic Heritage - Te Maari to Tangiwai8 Jan 2015Wet & Wild with Whio
Land the Big One - Kids Fishing9 Jan 2015Black Back Gull Colony10 Jan 2015Waipakihi Heli-Hike11 Jan 2015Dawn Chorus at Rotopounamu12 Jan 2015Wild at Heart Kaimanawa Horse Experience14 Jan 2015

Okupata Caves Adventure Creatures of the Night
Sulphur & Secrets

15 Jan 2015Poronui Mountain Bike Trip17 Jan 2015Landscape Photography Workshop19 Jan 2015Wairakei Wildlife Sanctuary22 Jan 2015Pureora Day24 Jan 2015

Tussock Traverse

25 Jan 2015Historic Old Coach Road Wander

A Fabulous 30th Celebration with Chateau Tongariro - Thanks you to everyone that joined us!

The 30th AGM and our dinner with Chateau Tongariro celebrating a combined 115 years was a huge success! Dinner was absolutely amazing! Thank you very much Kathy & team. We are extremely grateful to have your ongolng support.

Our guest speakers Bruce Jefferies and Sir Lloyd Geering were truly inspirational and the MC Dave Bamford was very entertaining and informative.  Thank you also to Karen Williams who organised the Williams and White Families to attend this very special occasion.

To our VIPs who helped to make the evening a success - we are very happy to have you involved and look forward to continuing our work together in the future. Thank you also to DOC’s DG Lou Sanson for contributing to the evening by wrapping up the speeches with a encouraging address to the room.

Finally to the 100 or so members and supporters who attended; you are the life-force of Project Tongariro and without your support and volunteer hours we would cease to exist.  Thank you all so much for attending, supporting an extremely successful annual raffle draw, and making it the night it was!

We also wish to thank Roy Dench, Frank Katavich & Peter McNaughton who have all stepped down from the Executive Board this year. We are very grateful for your service and your continued support.  Welcome to Lucy Roberts and Jason Cameron who join our existing board of Paul Green [President], Maureen Smith [Treasurer], Karen Williams, Shirley Potter and Noel Thomas.

Download the 2014 Annual Report >>>


Genesis Energy Whio Hardening Facility opens at The Tongariro National Trout Centre

Our friends at The Tongariro National Trout Centre recently celebrated a very special opening.  Conservation Minister Maggie Barry, and other dignitaries, visited the Tongariro National Trout Centre on 4 December to officially open the new Genesis Energy Whio Hardening Facility. This facility will see whio, that have been bred in captivity, develop their water skills prior to being released into the wild. Head along for a visit and see these rare and special birds up close.


2014 Memorial Award Recipient


The TNHS Memorial award was established by the society in memory of Lands and Survey Staff (DOC nowdays!) who died on Mt Ruapehu while testing helicopter rescue equipment on 9th December 1982. This award was first offered in 1992 and is given annually to deserving students for the study of fauna, flora, geology, volcanology, weather and natural or human history of Tongariro National Park. We are happy to present this year’s award, a $1,000 study grant, to Matthew Dickson.

He is a Masters student at Massey University in Palmerston North, studying towards a Masters of Science in Ecology and in his second year of his thesis researching carbon sequestration in tussock grassland. He wishes to investigate factors that increase carbon storage in the soil. 

Is Chionochloa tussock grassland a bigger carbon sink than we think?

Increasing atmospheric [CO2] and global climate change have made carbon cycling and soil carbon storage a critical research field. Carbon sequestration (CS), the annual addition of carbon to soil, results from the balance between plant productivity (CO2 fixed in photosynthesis) and decomposition (CO2 released during litter breakdown). Investigating this balance is imperative to understanding the carbon cycle and its management. Although high producing plants fix more carbon than low producing plants (such as Chionochloa), low producing plants may be sequestering more carbon due to producing plant litter that is more resistant to decomposition. 


The aim of this project is to test whether low producing plants are sequestering more carbon per unit growth than high producing plants. Tongariro National Park contains an extensive area of indigenous tussock grassland dominated by Red Tussock (Chionochloa rubra subsp. rubra). I am using this species, in addition to other Chionochloa species located around New Zealand, to test this hypothesis. The Chionochloa genus, which contains variable growth forms, productivities, and litter qualities, provides a good opportunity to test this. Plant productivity is calculated by annual field growth measurements of tillers, and decomposition is being measured in the Lab by incubating soil to collect respired CO2. Plant litter quality is assessed by measuring levels of plant compounds resistant to decomposition.

Conservation Efforts Rewarded


The Tongariro Taupō community celebrated conservation and those individuals and groups recognised as outstanding in acting for nature in November at the new DOC Taupō office.

The new Tūroa te Ao – Act for Nature awards were presented at the end of Conservation Week to recognise excellence in conservation locally.

Te Awa o Waitahanui received the community conservation group award for being kaitiakitanga for the Waitahanui river, and taking care of the awa with respect and hard work. The group of ten Māori youth between the ages of five and 15 years are being mentored by David Cade, also known as Didymo Dave. The youth are predator trapping, weeding, picking up rubbish and advocating for the Check Clean Dry campaign.

“We were impressed with how much this small group has achieved for conservation in only a year and a half. There are also social benefits from this project such as the rising mana of the youth involved, and the momentum and pride gathering in the community,” said judges Colin Paton of the Tongariro Taupō Conservation Board and DOC Partnerships Manager Natasha Hayward.,

Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary was awarded the business conservation award for providing a local sanctuary, experiences and advocacy for conservation. The building of a predator proof fence around the golf course in 2011 is enabling DOC to crèche kiwi chicks until they reach a stoat proof weight, before being returned to the wild. This also provides opportunities for local volunteers and school children to experience kiwi up close and personal, and to learn how they can help kiwi.

The individual leadership conservation award went to Nick Singers, described as a visionary and an inspiration to multiple community conservation projects, who also lends his technical expertise. Project Tongariro president Paul Green nominated him said, “Nick’s enthusiasm, knowledge, skills and ability to identify both resources and funding sources significantly aids the conservation projects he assists with”.

Hilltop School Weedbusters won the school conservation project award for hard physical labour in weed busting, and re-planting natives in the Oruatua Conservation Reserve. The students are weeding broome and cotoneaster and are also moving the piles of weeds off site so they don’t re-grow, areas cleared have been replanted, watered and protected from pests like rabbits. Next year the technology class are going to design tree protectors to keep the rabbits out.

“The impact and pride of this project for the school has seen the project adopted into the Hilltop year seven and eight syllabus, with a two year programme, designed around a new intake every year, ” says Shirley Potter, Oruatua resident and conservationist.

Te Awa o Waitahanui after weeding and collecting rubbish from alongside the river.

Te Awa o Waitahanui after weeding and collecting rubbish from alongside the river.

The Hilltop School Weedbusters on ground removed of weeds at Oruatua.

The Hilltop School Weedbusters on ground removed of weeds at Oruatua.

Nick Singers with a trophy sized stoat on the Tongariro River as part of the Blue Duck Project Charitable Trust.

Nick Singers with a trophy sized stoat on the Tongariro River as part of the Blue Duck Project Charitable Trust.

Community volunteers watching kiwi ranger Renee Potae undergoing a health check on one of the kiwi chicks at Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary.

Community volunteers watching kiwi ranger Renee Potae undergoing a health check on one of the kiwi chicks at Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary.

The Goat & The Tussock Traverse

This year the weather played the game and considering our so-called summer so far, we had a great day for the annual Goat event. This year we had four pairs of PT Volunteers out on course and the rest of the marshalling spots were aptly manned by Turangi and Ohakune Search and Rescue. A big thank you to those who volunteered their Saturday to help us out!

Photos below are of some of the team manning the BBQ, handing out 'Goat' sausages and beer to competitors.


The next marshalling event is our annual Tussock Traverse event to be held Saturday 24th January 2015. Marshalling spots are filling up fast, but there are still spots available on the 'base area crew' - helping out with drinks tables, BBQ, bag storage, car parking etc.

Friday and Saturday night accommodation is provided (bunk room style) with a packed lunch for Saturday and entry to the Prize giving BBQ.

Please let me know on if you are interested in helping out.


Rotopounamu Update

A very big thank you and welcome to our “new Rotoponamu trappers”. Sarah and Mike from Taupo, Dee and Ross from Pukawa and Helen from Te Awamutu with her tramping club mates assisting as well – that’s a fantastic commitment to travel all that way to help us out!

Shirley has taken these hardy souls on the longest lines, a tough call for first timers, but they took it in their stride and had big smiles at the end of the long days. The horrors of rotting rodents and mustelids bothered no one – lucky for us! “we will be back and do it in the next 2 weeks” was the parting comment.

Look at these beautiful leaflet boxes that our very talented Frank Katavich has created for our 'Adopt a Hectare' leaflets. Shirley will be popping them up at Lake Rotopounamu within the next couple of days - keep an eye out for them!




Last minute Christmas gift required for that person that has everything?

'Adopt a Hectare' in their name - a very special gift and an ongoing contribution to the ongoing restoration work happening at Rotopounamu.

Go to to find out more and to select your hectare.


Oruatua Update

Very exciting happenings in the Oruatua Conservation reserve. Firstly the Hilltop school won a Conservation Award for their wonderful weedbusting efforts. Go and visit the spot off Oruatua Ave and see their native plantings.

Thanks to Bryan Lawrance and his heavy machinery the reserve at the end of Tuki St has had a big make over. Ian Jenkins donated 180 native trees that with help from Wai Maniopoto, we got them in the ground before the last few weeks of rain. They are all flushing up nicely. Watch this space…

Byran vs Blackberry and Japanese Honeysuckle

Byran vs Blackberry and Japanese Honeysuckle

Plenty more left to do!

Plenty more left to do!

Ian’s trees doing well

Ian’s trees doing well


Te Matapuna Wetland Planting

A good crew of vollies joined us to help plant 300 plants and with weeding or as you say in the business - 'releasing' at the Waiotaka Restoration Planting Day in October.  Love it when the kids muck in too!  Thanks for your help guys!


Vollie Appreciation BBQ - Thursday 27th February 2015


Mark your diaries for this day and join us for our annual Vollie Appreciation BBQ.  It's always a great evening and a chance for us to together when we aren't out their in the field mucking in.

See you then!

Posted: Fri 19 Dec 2014

Roel Michels