Tongariro Times - March 2012

Tongariro Times March 2012

$50,000 raised for Project Tongariro at the NZPGA Senior Charity Championships at Wairakei Golf & Sanctuary

Project Tongariro is to receive $50,000 raised during the NZPGA Senior Charity Championships at the privately owned Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary on the weekend of 3rd March 2012.

There was spirited bidding at the charity auction held as part of the Seniors NZPGA event for a range of special conservation experiences, including active adventures and inspirational conservation opportunities around the district. Project Tongariro acknowledges the goodwill of DOC staff who agreed to be part of the auction packages. The Society also gratefully thanks the various sponsors involved who added real value and a luxury element to the various packages: Bayview Chateau Tongariro, Bayview Wairakei Resort, Craggy Range Winery, Emirates, Huka Lodge, Independent Prestige, Mountain Air, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Scenic Cellars, Taupo Ski Club, The Merchant of Taupo, Tongariro Lodge, Tongariro River Rafting, Tui Lodge and Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary.

President Karen Williams said the group’s successful efforts to restore forest health and birdlife to Lake Rotopounamu, in Tongariro National Park over the past seven years, had caught the attention of owner Gary Lane who is an enthusiastic conservationist.

"The funds will be split equally two ways “Half will go towards the Society’s ongoing work at Rotopounamu and the rest towards habitat restoration work in northern Lake Taupo Reserves and the Wairakei area.”

It has been a milestone week for conservation at the Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary. Two young kiwi were released into bush on the 180 hectare property. Golfers participating in the tournament were privileged to see the two kiwi, Funky and Puhina, being fitted with tiny radio transmitters prior to their release by DOC rangers into the pest-proof sanctuary.

The young birds hatched several weeks ago at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua. They will live in the sanctuary for several months until they weigh around 1 kg and then will be released back to the forest south of Mt Ruapehu.

The release followed the signing of a Restoration Plan by owner Gary Lane and Al Morrison, Director General of DOC. The agreement outlines how both parties will work together to enhance the area as habitat for common native birds and rare and threatened species. This agreement will see Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary used as a safe haven for many more juvenile kiwi in the years to come.

DOC ranger Renee Potae carefully passes a young kiwi to Gary Lane of Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary
DOC ranger Pete Morton, conservator Damian Coutts, ranger Renee Potae and Che Wilson of Ngati Rangi at the powhiri and handover of the kiwi at Wairakei on 1 March 2012.

Ark in the Park Members' Field Trip - 18 to 20 May 2012

Where: Northern Waitakere Range, Auckland
When: 18th, 19th, 20th May 2012
Project Tongariro members' field trip to Ark in the Park is a chance to hear and see kokako and hihi (stitch) birds, explore the area and learn from the Waitakere Branch of Forest and Bird about their partnership with the Auckland Regional Council to create this open sanctuary. It is also a chance for Project Tongariro members to share their knowledge.

Please register your interest in attending the Ark in the Park visit as soon as possible so that the Saturday morning activities can be planned to suit the numbers attending. The best way to register your interest is to fill in the registration form on the Project Tongariro website,

Any questions should be directed to Mary Monzingo at or 07 378 8636. For more information regarding the Ark in the Park see

Sunset Red Crater Trip - Tongariro Alpine Crossing by Full Moon - 7th April 2012

Experienced mountain guide Hogi (Hakan Svensson) is guiding Project Tongariro members on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to watch the sunset from Red Crater and then return to Mangatepopo by the light of the full moon.  An amazing chance for photos and to experience Tongariro National Park in a new light - moonlight!

Meet at the Mangatepopo Car Park at 1pm.  The trek should take about 6 hours with expected arrival back at the Mangatepopo Car Park at 7pm.  Depending on the time of sunset, times may vary.  Bring normal tramping gear, food, water, camera as well as head torch and spare batteries.

Register your interest with and include your mobile phone number.  As this is highly weather dependent we will be informing participants by text message during the week leading up to and on the day of the trek about whether the trip will be going ahead.  Contingency day is the next full moon on 6th May 2012.


Tussock Traverse - A fantastic day out and an huge success

The Project Tongariro icon event held in partnership with Total Sport, was a fantastic success in 2012, in terms of weather, participation, profile and fundraising.  Building on the strengths of past events, the Project Tongariro / Total Sport partnership put great effort into really strengthening the event for 2012 and beyond. 

Growing the event was a priority and included the new 13km and 6.5km courses alongside the traditional 26km course. This meant that event participation more than doubled from the previous year.  This in turn generated more profile and increased fundraising dollars.  Funds payable to Project Tongariro from this year's Tussock Traverse were are over $9,000 - a fantastic result.

Alongside the fundraising dollars is the ongoing commitment to the Community Tussock Revegetation Project.  More competitors means more tussocks and more awareness to further contribute to this important community project.

Thanks to all our loyal volunteers who contributed greatly to the running of this event - whether sizzling sausages or marshallng - all the hard work is appreciated.  Some comments from participants:

"Thanks to you and your team including the helpful and supportive marchalls out on the course (some of them would have had a fairly big day just getting to their marshalling points!)"

"What a great event..., a slick operation, the atmosphere on the day was awesome, and the scenery second to none...the Tussock Traverse is THE run to do."

"Thanks for an amazing event - great race, brilliantly organised and a fun after-party... hope to be back with an even bigger crowd of friends next year."

Mixed weather, lava and ice, pine tree control - all the makings of a great member outing!
by Karen Williams

After a summer to forget, and a not-very-encouraging forecast. Harry and I decided to go ahead with the members’ field trip to Tukino on February 25-26, come what may. We were so impressed when everyone - all 22 who had signed up for the trip long ago, showed up on the day.

James Cowlyn, a geology PhD student from Canterbury University who had been living a rather reclusive life based at the Tukino Lodge over the summer, was delighted to see us all when we reached the Tukino Ski Area. We were really pleased when he decided to come with us on our outings over the weekend. James is studying deposits from a huge pyroclastic flow on the eastern side of the mountain approximately 12,000 years ago. He shared lots of information with us including new understandings about the interaction of lava and ice on Ruapehu.

We had a mix of fine weather, then sleet, snow and wind as we walked up the Mangatoetoenui Glacier – a four hour climb. That was enough for many who then headed back to the lodge. Others continued on to find plane wreckage caught up in the glacier in the 50s, and the stalwarts walked to Whangaehu Hut as well.

The pot luck meal on Saturday night in Tukino Lodge was brilliant and Sunday’s sunrise - magnificent. Other highlights were a close-up look at some spectacular ash deposits from Ruapehu over the last 30,000 years and a visit to the Bund where we did a plant survey and found a total of more than 25 plant species plus three new species of ferns. Some of the party made a significant dent in the local Pinus contorta population, including dealing to one eight year-old pine tree with cones! The last of the group visited an ancient forest in the Rangipo desert, burnt and felled by the Taupo eruption.


Restoring the Familiar Old Whakapapa Classic - The Old Stone No 2 Drive Building

While not the oldest building in the ski area, the old No 2 chairlift drive station is of local and national significance because:

  • It is associated with the establishment of the first chairlifts, No 1 in 1954 and No 2 in 1956, heralding the start of the modern ski era at Mt Ruapehu.

  • It was made from local volcanic stone on site in the summer of 1955/56

  • Of its changing history of use due to lightning strike and fire. Snow accumulation at the base of the Staircase replacement and obsolescence return to use for a short time in the 70s when its replacement was undermined by lahar.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) will carry out substantial engineering work on the structure including earthquake strengthening to meet current building codes to allow public entry.  Additional funds of $100,000 are being sought to enable restoration work to be undertaken and for the interesting stories about this building and its era to be told on site.

When sufficient funds have accumulated, Project Tongariro will coordinate restoration and interpretation efforts.

If you can help with photos or stories associated with this building over the years please email  All information is welcome.

Donations to assist with this project are gratefully received. You will be able to keep up to date with fundraising progress on our website.  Donations are tax deductible - Project Tongariro (Tongariro Natural History Society Inc) is a registered charity CC10701.  Donations can be made online via our website or by cheque payable to Project Tongariro and sent to PO Box 238, Turangi.


Tongariro The Annual - 2011 E Version Now Available

Tongariro The Annual has been compiled and published annually by DOC for approximately 30 years.  This journal takes a snapshot of the work and achievements over the year and has proven to be an excellent record of Tongariro National Park since about 1980 which is unique in this country. 

Recently, a cost benefit analysis was undertaken in regard to the traditional paper print method.  In order to make sure that this publication is available well in to the future, Project Tongariro, in partnership with DOC, has undertaken the publishing of this important record using new e-book online technology which has proven to be a cost-effective way of both publishing and distributing the Annual.

The 2011 and 2010 Annuals are now available to be viewed and enjoyed on our website link Soon, the entire collection of Tongariro the Annual will be available in this format from this online library including a full index so that the volumes are easily researchable. 

This project is a great example of taking new technology and applying it for educational and historical purposes.  We are excited that the Tongariro Journals Library online will be not only an amazing reference resource but also a way of preserving the history of conservation in Tongariro National Park.


Turangi Region - Walks 'n Talks with Tongariro River Rafting and Destination Great Lake Taupo

Project Tongariro will be hosting a series of 'talks' as part of the FREE 'Walks 'n Talks' Festival in Turangi.  In the evenings following the 'walks' part of the festival. Which feature amazing but little-known walks right in our own local region which are guided by Tongariro River Rafting owner/operator Garth Oakden, visitors and locals alike can participate in and take the opportunity to learn about some very interesting topics presented by local experts in their field.

DateWalkTalkMonday 2 April 2012Mount TihiaSpeaker : Nicole Sutton - DOC Biodiversity Ranger
Topic : Tongaririo Forest Kiwi SanctuaryTuesday 3 April 2012Ohinepango ExplorerSpeaker : Paul Green - Project Tongariro Executive & Life Member, past Department of Conservation Taupo/Tongariro Conservator
Topic : Tongariro National Park and World Heritage National Park Site StatusWednesday 4 April 2012Rangipo Dessert Explorer

Speaker : Dr Harry Keys - DOC Conservation Analyst
Topic : The Eruption Detection System (EDS) at Mt Ruapehu with some historic and current volcanology in the Tongariro-Taupo region

Thursday 5 April 2012Mount UrchinSpeaker : Jess Scrimgeour - DOC Technical Support Officer Fauna
Topic : Forest restoration and biodiversity including predator control, bird and native plant monitoring with particular interest in Rotopounamu, Tongariro National Park

Thank you to the speakers who are passionate about their field of expertise and who are excited about passing on their knowledge about conservation work in and around Tongariro National Park.

Click for more info:   'Walks 'n Talks'


As part of the 'Walks 'n Talks' Festival, Project Tongariro along with Destination Great Lake Taupo was pleased to host Marcus Lush during his visit to Tongariro National Park.  He met with Dr Harry Keys (aside from the beard - these two apparently have quite a lot in common!) and completed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with guide Terry Blumdhart owner/opearator of Walking Places.  By all accounts (despite mixed weather) Marcus really enjoyed his time in our part of the world.  He is extremely interested in conservation in NZ and was enthusiastic about the work Project Tongariro undertakes.  Thanks Terry and Harry for showing him a great time!


Turangi Colours Festival - Easter Weekend

Be inspired and be involved in this celebration of colour. Turangi is once again showcasing its beautiful autumn trees and its many talented artists over Easter Weekend 2012.  Visit the art galleries, join in some art workshops or wander through the Town Centre Art and Food Market on Easter Saturday.  There will be musicians performing on stage and Street Theatre to entertain.  Food lovers will be able to try local delicacies with a Gala Dinner on Saturday night at Tongariro Lodge featuring local food and wines.

Project Tongariro will be participating by way of an advocacy stall at the Town Centre Art and Food Market on Easter Sunday - 8th April 2012.  Our volunteers will be on hand to provide info about our current projects and in particular will be informing people about the 'Adopt a Hectare' initiative at Rotopounamu.  People will have the opportunity to sign up for a walk around Rotopounamu on Easter Monday (9th April) guided by Nick Singers (DOC Technical Support Officer - Flora) who has an intimate knowledge about this unique, beautiful part of Tongariro National Park. Nick will describe key features along the way.  Participants will be encouraged to donate to the 'Adopt a Hectare' initiative.

If you are interested in volunteering to help man the stall and advocacy trailer on Easter Sunday, please email


T42 - Saturday 5th May 2012

Based around the famous and iconic 42 Traverse track, the T42 offers the following event options;

  • 48km Mountain Bike

  • 42.2km Trail Marathon Run

  • 24km Trail Adventure Run / Walk

  • 11km Trail Run / Walk

  • 6.5km Trail Run / Walk

Check out to find out more or to enter this amazing event.

Project Tongariro has the chance to particpate in some form as a fundraising opportunity - details are still being worked out but if you can help out on the day register your interest with and we'll let you know the details as soon as they are confirmed.


Don't forget to 'like' us on Facebook remember check out the full Events Calendar

Project Tongariro
PO Box 238 
p: +64 7 386 6499

Posted: Fri 23 Mar 2012

Roel Michels