Tongariro Times November 2011


The Pocket Ranger Guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been launched!

Project Tongariro has been working in partnership with DOC for the last 12 months on an impressive new project using the latest technology.   It's an application for use on smartphones.  Called the Pocket Ranger - it is just that - everything you need to know about the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (TAC) from interpretation of the natural landscape to safety and weather.  It's all availalble for free on your Android or iPhone mobile device, at your fingertips.

This app project ticked all the boxes for Project Tongariro.  It is hoped it will be a useful planning and interpretation tool for visitors and help people to be better prepared on the Crossing.  It also provides some amazing profile-building opportunities and it's taking Project Tongariro and conservation alike into the wide world of technology.

The Pocket Ranger has also allowed Project Tongariro to set up some neat partnerships with businesses in the local area which will help in the conservation efforts that Project Tongariro undertakes each year.

Go to ‘pocket ranger tongariro crossing’ for more info and to download the Pocket Ranger.  Keep an eye out for the upcoming December issue of Wilderness Magazine which includes a comprehensive article on the Pocket Ranger.



Introducing Kiri Te Wano
Kiri is taking over as Project Tongariro coordinator from Nina Manning while she is on maternity leave.  Kiri is a familiar face in the region having grown up in Taupo and then returning to the area after completing her degree at Lincoln University in the South Island.  Kiri's first love is skiing and her special place is on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu so she has a natural passion for Tongariro National Park.  Her husband Johnny is employed year round by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts and together they live with their two children (Maz age 5 and Lenni age 2) at Oruatua, near Tauranga-Tuapo River.

Kiri will bring enthusiasm and skill to the team at Project Tongariro and will be the friendly contact for all of our volunteers, members, supporters and interns.  She is based at the office alongside DOC in Turangi on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am to 3pm if you need to catch her.

Don't worry, Nina is not far away, she and her partner, Aron, are building a new home in Taupo near the Waikato River. Congratulations to both Nina and Aron on the recent arrival of their second son.  Nina is only a phone call away for Kiri; you may already be aware, Kiri is Nina's older sister - so we are keeping it in the family.



Help Clean Up Around the Old Taonui Rail Viaduct - 3 & 4 December 2011
We are embarking on another project between Horopito and Ohakune.  This involves clearing the vegetation from around the columns of the historic Taonui Rail Viaduct which is accessed via the Old Coach Road and new cycleway. Tools required will be loppers, pruning shears, spades etc. DOC will supply us with most of the tools, but if you have your favourites, bring them along. Don’t forget gardening gloves.


There’s room for a few at Frank's house in Ohakune. If the numbers grow too large, we 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

We Need Volunteers for The Goat! - Saturday 3 December 2011


The Goat is an epic 21 km alpine adventure run around the base of imposing Mt Ruapehu on the Round the Mountain track.  It's an exhilarating journey from Whakapapa to Turoa Ski Areas with captivating views of Mount Taranaki and the Central Plateau. The Goat traverses a diversity of terrain, starting and finishing on the ski access roads and covering a stunning array of volcanic landforms, mountain beech forest, alpine herb fields and spectacular glacial river valleys.

This event would not be possible without marshals from Project Tongariro. The Goat is an adventurous and enjoyable day out for volunteers on the Round the Mountain track. The competitors revel in the encouragement and support from the marshaling team which for many competitors is one of the highlights of their day.

This year's event has reached the limit of 600 athletes.  If you decide to volunteer, this is what is provided for your valuable time:

Friday Night Accommodation in National Park
Friday 2 December.  Please let Kiri, Project Tongariro coordinator and team leader, know if need accommodation so when can arrange the correct number of beds.  Further information around your accommodation location / check-in times etc will be provided in the lead up week – for now, we just need to know how many beds. (

Saturday Event
- An energy-packed lunch for the day with a bottle of water and electrolytes that will be handed to you by the Peak Safety team on event day. 
- Laminated course map with all marshal points and event safety instructions
- A first aid kit
- A whistle
- Key event mobile numbers list (in laminated pocket card format)
- Where needed, a communications radio (operating instructions will be provided by Peak Safety).
- Peak Safety personnel will be carrying two satellite phones on the track

Should the weather not be suitable to stage the event on Saturday a reserve day is in place on Sunday 4 December. If you are not able to commit to marshalling on Sunday, can you please advise us so we can make alternative arrangements.

This event is a great little earner for Project Tongariro as we get a payment for all our marshalling efforts.   So get involved and support PT and these crazy runners.  If interested in helping, please email or phone 07 386 6499.

Tussock Planting - Tukino Mountain Road - Big Thanks to our Volunteers!


About 350 plants and seven people took part in the annual planting day on the Tukino Mountain Road. Kevin and Beth Griffiths, Linda and Selwyn Bullock, Heather Morrison, Paul Prendergast and John Mills were the champions who charged through this work! They also shifted the Project Tongariro sign which was hidden behind a large tussock about 300m off the road!  They moved the sign to the side of the Tukino Road (just off SH1 Desert Rd) so those who are in the area can see that it’s a community project about replenishing/replacing the tussocks.


Welcome to our 2011/2012 Interns


Jenny Hayward and Kelly Carswell both are in their second year of studies at Waikato University.  Jenny is working towards a double major in Biology and Earth Sciences and Kelly is working towards a Bachelor of Science Technology majoring in Animal Behavior.  Both are extremely keen and energetic, and so far have done some great work and are even enjoying this unpredictable  weather!  Keep an eye out for them at the events coming up as they will be there too.

Kaimanawa Wild Horses Trip: 9 October 2011
by Margi Keys

This was a trip with a difference. We were a convoy of 12 vehicles making our way through tussocky army land east of Waiouru, in search of the famous wild horses that roam an area the size of Tongariro National Park that includes the Moawhango Ecological District. A fire-induced landscape, it was forested 600 years ago and grazed as a farm until 1990.


Our leader was Peter McNaughton, now a consultant to the army, who briefed us on unexploded ammo and the rules of army roads (eg 40 kmph speed limit). We were accompanied by conservation analyst Bill Fleury from DOC’s Wanganui office and Staff Sergeant Bert Jordan in camouflage gear.

The first horses came to New Zealand in 1814, thanks to Samuel Marsden. Explorers, surveyors and the constabulary used them. Maori traded them. Some escaped and had become feral by 1876. The horses were given protection under the Wildlife Act in 1981. DOC assumed responsibility for them from 1987, taking over from the Wildlife Service.


An annual muster in June, using experienced stockmen with a background in polo and handling wild livestock, aims to keep horse numbers down to about 350, to reduce damage to wetlands and rare plant species. About 2000 animals have been removed from the area in the last 24 years. The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society (KWHPS) advertises for people to take the horses. Wannabe owners are vetted for suitability and if they pass they pay an admin fee before collecting their horse. The KWHPS and the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust have a representative on the management group. Forest & Bird, SPCA and the Vets Association are also represented.


Our trip included checking out Lake Moawhango and its dam, plots of hard tussock and bristle tussock which have been fenced off for 18 years; some bush remnants which included at least two beech species, mistletoe, alpine toatoa, Hall’s or mountain totara (Podocarpus hallii), pahutea (Libocedrus bidwillii), koromiko, broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis), kanuka and manuka, and Westlawn Camp. We visited quaint historic West Lawn hut in a copse - it had rafters of beech poles and sacking lining. I spied a tomtit in the bush.


We stopped for geological interpretation of the landscape (an ancient shoreline boundary) and at one point searched for fossils. A 20-minute walk to a redoubt enclosed by a barbed-wire fence had Annette puzzled as to its design.

We were rewarded with many sightings of groups of beautiful horses along the way. Some were curious. The first foals of the season had already been born.

'Adopt a Hectare'- Restoring Rotopounamu

Project Tongariro is pleased to pass on the news that over 30 hectares have already been adopted since launching the initiative.  That's $3000 towards ongoing pest control work during bird nesting season at beautiful Lake Rotopounamu.  Your support is helping to keep this place a safe haven for the increasing numbers of species that have returned to this site (kaka, NZ falcon, kereru and North Island robin) since work began in 2005. 

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 - lakefront hectares are going fast!  adopt a hectare


DOC Summer Nature Programme & Project Tongariro Kite Day

1 January to 10 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


Kite Day

Don't forget that the Summer Nature Programme kicks off on New Year's Day with the popular Project Tongariro Kite Day on the Bayview Chateau Tongariro Golf Course with the NZ Kitefliers Assciation.  Everyone welcome to join in this amazing spectacle!

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