Tongariro Times March 2013

Tongariro Times March 2013

Tussock Traverse - another amazing day in Tongariro National Park for competitors, volunteers and supporters!
by Kiri Te Wano



Photos by Neil Jarrett, Maggie Daniell and Fa'i Pudney

Once again, the Tussock Traverse Event was a fantastic day out – not a cloud in the sky and another wonderful bunch of volunteers from Project Tongariro who always add that extra level of magic out on the course.  A MASSIVE thank you goes out to the following people who either were marshalling over the length of the 26km course, on the BBQ or in the finishing area removing timing transponders, handing out sports drink or beers and cider!

Jo Norrie & Ross Fletcher    
Marshall point 1 (Start)Anna Eliers & Tim AndersonMarshall point 2Roy & Annette Dench     
Marshall point 3Heather Morison & Jenny HaywardMarshall point 4The Waihahohonu Hut warden at the time – MelissaMarshall point 5Lucy Roberts & Sarah Gibb     
Marshall point 6Fa’i Pudney & Rich JonesMarshall point 7Nathan Frost & Nathaniel MellonMarshall point 8Selwyn Bullock & Linda Dyck  
Marshall point 9Neil Jarrett & Maggie DaniellMarshall point 10Peter Manning & Mark Davies 
Marshall point 11Ray Packer & Mike Wing  
Marshall point 12Beth Griffiths & Lyn Thomas  
Marshall point 13Frank Katavich 
 Marshall point 14 (Finish)Ali & Andy Aanensen  BBQKevin Griffiths  BBQ Paul Green
Speight’s beer & cider distributorAnni Carmichael        
Tail-end-charlie for the 13km walk/runEllen Abraham4WD support and mobile 1st AidNoel Thomas 
Competitor Gear Bags (collecting at start & bringing back to finish) & various jobs at the finish base areaVinny Maitland & MikeFinish line area, taking off timing transponders & distributing sports replace drinkKiri Te Wano   
Marshall coordinator, finish line and prize giving duties

36 People in total!  Awesome Effort!

As you can see, the Tussock Traverse event is a big operation!  It is now considered to be one of the premier off-road running events in NZ and numbers of competitors are consistently growing.  A notable statistic this year was the gender split of competitors with women, for the first time, being the larger of the two; with a 60:40 split over a field of approx 800 competitors. 
This event is one of Project Tongariro’s major profile and fundraising opportunities.  As you may know, PT used to run the event but we negotiated with the guys from Total Sport to take over the contract of running the event while Project Tongariro still holds the concession for the event in the National Park.  Total Sport has been a fantastic partner and we are grateful to have such a great team working behind the scenes on the event.  As part of our agreement, Project Tongariro receives a percentage of the event registration, a donation for our volunteers and marshalls, the ability to receive donations through the Total Sport website and half of the cost for the small tussocks that are handed out to the competitors on registration night (they can donate them back to us to plant back inTNP).  We are also able to fundraise on the day with a BBQ with Chateau Tongariro donating the sausages, bread, onions and sauce.  AND we are able to take the opportunity to inform people about who we are, and what PT does – this was achieved spectacularly by Jason Cameron from the Park Travelers’ Lodge, who was on the microphone all day informing people of the interesting things we get up to in and around Tongariro National Park!
I really enjoyed my day and the Prize giving and dinner afterwards, but as mentioned above, it really wouldn’t be possible without the dedication from our crew of volunteers, some who have volunteered for this event 7 years in a row!  If you think you might be interested in volunteering for next year’s event, but would like to find out a bit more – like what marshalling involves, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  We are also going to be involved in the upcoming T42 event also run by Total Sport to be held on 4th May 2013.  Please let me know if you would be interested in helping out.  


Rotopounamu Update

Project Tongariro was recently granted $20,000 from the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust to assist with the Restoring Rotopounamu project.  A change of funding request was made and successful for the following:
·         Expanding the area currently controlled from 500ha to approx 1,000ha.
·         Planning and implementing a new stoat trapping network.
·         Purchasing the new Good Nature A24 mustelid self-setting trap – giving amazing economies to the programme.
We also plan to undertake a review of our pest management plan over the last five years and will be developing a new plan which harnesses new technology and cutting-edge control methods.  We will then use this plus existing funding and seek new funding to achieve these positive outcomes for this project which is in now in its 10th year of operation.

Take a look at this recent pic at the lake showing the effects of all this hot weather - a bit more beach than normal at present.

Turangi Colours Festival and Rotopounamu Open Day

Project Tongariro will once again be involved in the Turangi Colours Festival at Easter.  We are taking the opportunity to have a Rotopounamu Open Day in conjunction with the Festival.  Details are still being finalised but we will need some help so if you are around at Easter and would like to be involved please get in touch with Kiri on

We have had some fabulous and sometimes astonishing results at Rotopounamu and we would like to take the opportunity to inform the public and encourage people to get involved in the 'Adopt a Hectare' initiative.


Te Matapuna Trapping Project

An update from the dedicated crew who look after this project:

There are currently  32 Doc 200 traps; 17 at the Motuoapa end and 15 at the Waimarino end. Ten volunteers check the traps every two weeks.  Lyn keeps the roster and records the successes.  To date 37 ship rats, 13 stoats, 8 hedgehogs and 7 weasels have been killed.   The most interesting catch was an albino stoat complete with pink eyes (pictured below).  It was still alive in the trap and was despatched with some difficulty.   The track requires on-going work with spray and scrub bars to keep the blackberry, gorse and grasses at bay.  Noel and Selwyn are managing this.

Thanks for the great effort here guys.



Toyota Corolla Competition - we need one so get voting...

We have entered the "Win one of 25 Corollas for 3 Years" competition with Toyota.  It is all vote based and the 25 charities with the most votes at the end of March will win a new Corolla for 3 years.  Although our Toyota Rav has been loyal and reliable, we could really use a new set of wheels so get voting and encourage your friends to vote and we might be in with a chance!

Vote NOW

Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary Upcoming NZPGA Charity Golf Tournament

Project Tongariro is excited to have again been selected by Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary to be a charity partner for their upcoming NZPGA Charity Golf Tournament to be held 14-16 March 2013.  Last  year $50,000 was raised and put toward the Restoring Rotopounamu and Greening Taupo projects and we are pleased to have the opportunity to be involved again.  This year Project Tongariro along with NZ Mens Health will be the recipients of funds raised through both the auctioning of unique experiences and of pro golfers.  We are looking forward to another successful tournament.


Member Field Trip to Boundary Stream and the Pan Pac Kiwi Creche
By Barbara Grainger

Those of you who did not make this year's trip, organised by Mary Monzingo, to the Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche and Boundary Stream missed out on some memorable experiences, while those six of us who comprised a small compatible group are still abuzz!

The weekend gave most of us not only an escape from Taupo's relentless sunshine as we climbed into cooler, slightly drizzly climes, but more importantly, took us somewhat off the beaten track.  Our accommodation in the Guthrie Smith Outdoor Education Centre above Lake Tutira offered various opportunities to explore – an arboretum, orchard and farm animals, historic church and glow-worms. There being only six in our group most had a bunkroom to themselves.

On the cool, drizzly Saturday morning we drove up to the Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche, a 40-hectare pest-free area, to which kiwi chicks rescued from the wild are brought. Here we struck it lucky. Not only did we watch the health check of a four-month old chick, undertaken by volunteers Cherry and Ron, but we also met an 11-day old chick which had been rescued in the neighbouring Kawekas the previous evening by dedicated volunteer, Mary (another Mary).  She had spent 13 hours walking to retrieve the kiwi from its nest. Having spent the night with Mary, the chick was brought to the crèche where we were privileged to participate in its release. Once the kiwi chicks grow to 800 – 1000 grams they are more able to hold their own against predators and are released back into the wild.

After lunch back at Centre we walked to the Shine Fall, the highest and perhaps the most beautiful waterfall in the Hawkes Bay. The falls were spectacular in height although their volume was undoubtedly affected by lack of rain. Along the track we passed towering rock faces with cavernous holes reminiscent of Mediterranean countries (even to the goats), stands of kanuka and kowhai among other natives that Mel, our tree expert, identified.  There were glimpses of a variety of birds, including the grey warbler and kereru. Our Mary also thought she heard the call of the kiwi!

In the evening half the group ventured up to the glow-worms they had stalked out earlier, while the other half stayed in and put the world to rights!
The next morning offered more absorbing experiences. First we followed our local DOC guide, Ken Hunt, to the Kaka Aviary which had two young kaka in residence. While the birds dithered about whether to take their feed or not, Ken explained Poutiri Ao ō Tāne, the local project aimed at restoring “native biodiversity within the broader human landscape”.

From the aviary we followed Ken to the local DOC headquarters where we had lunch before embarking on the day's task. In a ferny grove on top of the Maungaharuru range an artificial nesting site for Cooks Petrel is being established. A smaller predator proofed fence has been completed and artificial nesting boxes are being installed. Our task was to dig holes, clearing away tree roots as we went, for some of the first of 50 nesting boxes to accommodate Cooks Petrel chicks.

The chicks will be brought from Hauturu Little Barrier Island, their only major nesting area, in early April and hand fed until they fledge. When they fledge the location of their nesting box will be imprinted on them and they will return, after about five years in the East Pacific area, to breed. Ultimately the colony will house 150 nesting boxes and establish another thriving colony of Cooks Petrel.

A satisfying end to an eventful weekend!

We have volunteered to return to the nesting site in April 2014 to hand feed the newly arrived chicks for a week. Anyone who would like to be involved for several days or the whole week please register your interest with Mary Monzingo (

Forest & Bird AGM

Date: 19 April
Time: 7.30 pm
Venue: REAP

Guest Speaker will be Mike Joy BSc, MSc (1st class hons), PhD in Ecology. He is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at the Ecology group - Institute of Natural Resources Massey University, Palmerston North. He researches and teaches freshwater ecology, especially freshwater fish ecology and distribution, ecological modelling bioassessment and environmental science. He has and continues to supervise many Masters and PhD students doing research into freshwater ecology, with topics from native fish ecology to farmers’ attitudes to sustainability.

Mike is a director of the Massey University Centre for Freshwater Ecosystem Modelling and Management.  He has published around many papers in scientific journals and newspapers, written many reports for Regional Councils and has developed a number of bioassessment tools and associated software used by many North Island Regional Councils.

Mike is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand and has received a number of awards including “ecology in action” award from the NZ ecological Society, and an “Old Blue” award from the Royal Forest and Bird protection Society,environmental New Zealander of the year from North and South magazine and this year he was voted person of the year by the Manawatu Evening Standard.

Talk Title : New Zealand’s environmental reality
In this talk Mike will give the facts on New Zealand’s stark environmental and biodiversity reality - the facts that are hidden from most New Zealanders. He will discuss the reasons for this and what the declines will cost us if we don’t change. Finally what we need to do to see some improvement.

Hukafalls Jet Locals Day - $8000 to Project Tongariro

The Hukafalls Jet Locals Day back in December was a huge success and Project Tongariro has been the recipient of $8000 as one of their selected local charities.  It was a neat day out on the shores of the Waikato River watching locals experience a jet boat ride and we are certainly grateful to Hukafalls Jet for involving Project Tongariro.

Pocket Ranger Stats

Project Tongariro is pleased to let you know that the number of downloads of the Pocket Ranger has been growing steadily and the statistics indicate that the app has been downloaded on average 220 times per week since the beginning of the 2012/13 walking season in Oct 2012.  Compared with an average of 80 per week for the 12 months following the initial launch, we can conclude that the Pocket Ranger is definitely becoming a must have tool for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  Along with the download stats which are displayed below, another indicator has been the consistent ranking of the Pocket Ranger among the top 15 free navigational apps in NZ.  As more and more users of the TAC have smart phones and we continue to build the profile of the Pocket Ranger and Project Tongariro, we should expect the growth in downloads increase. 

We have installed an ipad and kiosk at the Tongariro Visitor Information Centre in Whakapapa Village so visitors can test out the Pocket Ranger before they download it or head out onto the TAC.

Download the Pocket Ranger

Official Tongariro

Department of Conservation, Visit Ruapehu and Destination Great Lake Taupo have teamed up and brought you Official Tongariro on so you can keep up to date with all things Tongariro National Park.  Some great stories and some amazing pictures so if you are keen to find out anything and everything about TNP then this is a great source of info.

Volunteer BBQ to say thank you

Last Friday we hosted a BBQ at the DOC yard in Turangi.  It was a chance to get together, share stories and say thanks to a group of very dedicated people.  The following 'awards' were given out in recognition of some of our volunteer stars:

Kevin - Most useful invention and BBQ expert
Beth - Marshall extraordinaire
Mary - Trip leader extraordinaire
Shirley - Most enthusiastic 'killer of pests'
Noel - Scrub bar / marshall expert
Lynn - Motuoapa trapping coordinator and marshall extraordinaire.
Nick & Chris - Nursery chief & experts

Thanks also to Ian McNickle from DOC who has contributed greatly and provided an update after dinner on Rotopounamu.

If you weren't able to come along this time, please know that your ongoing support and commitment is greatly appreciated and we hope you can join us next time!

Upcoming activities and events - your chance to get involved!

Field Trip - Bridge to Nowhere ExpeditionFri 15 to Sun 17 March 2013Rotopounamu Open Day and Turangi Colours Festival
Sun 31 March 2013PT Nursery WorkTues 2 April 2013Sunset Red Crater TripSat 13 April 2013T42Sat 4 May 2013Te Matapuna Wetland Planting DayMon 3 June 2013


Check out the Tongariro Journals Library - now online 1999 to 2011 Journals. 

Download the Pocket Ranger - the smartpone app that is your guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Don't forget to 'like' us on Facebook

Project Tongariro
PO Box 238 



p: +64 7 386 6499

Posted: Fri 08 Mar 2013

Roel Michels