Mahi Aroha

The 2013/14 summer programme was a milestone as it was the 50th year. Launched in the Tongariro region in 1964 and spearheaded by Lincoln University’s Associate Professor Parks, Recreation & Tourism Dr. Patrick Devlin, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

Dr. Devlin played a significant part in the programme for 12 years and speaks fondly of those early days when visitor numbers were ‘bursting at the seams in makeshift conditions’.

“Daytime walks were either full or half-day. Full days involved the major mountains: crossing Tongariro, going to the Crater Lake on Ruapehu, climbing to the Ngauruhoe summit and several others. There would be less talking and more hard walking (and puffing) with these. Some were hugely popular and it was not uncommon to have over a hundred people and several staff on some trips. Half-day walks were two to three hour nature walks. Evenings were given over to illustrated talks on geology, history, vegetation, introduced animals, winter sports and hiking/tramping. They were all well attended,” he says.

During his time as Programme Leader he witnessed areas of significant growth, in not only the facilities offered to the public, but also that of a future generation developing an interest in the natural environment.

“I was a part of the programme for twelve years and watched the park facilities grow and develop to a very high standard. I also watched my children grow, develop a love for the bush and the mountains, and acquire knowledge and skills that in turn rubbed off on their children.”

Mahi Aroha serves to follow on this tradition, educating the younger generation about the importance of protecting the natural environment through the notion of participation.

This is a summer programme that delivers equal parts education, enjoyment and encounters with a clear underlying message.

Bring the kids, grab a friend and explore the environment like never before.

This is our place, let’s protect it, nourish it and hold onto it. Mahi Aroha - Doing it for Conservation.

Kite Day

K is for Kite Day at Whakapapa Village on Mt Ruapehu.  Join us on the Chateau Tongariro Golf Course on the first day of the year every year from 10.30am.  The New Zealand Kite Fliers Association, DOC and Project Tongariro have joined together to put on this annual FREE event.  It's a spectacular backdrop for the event and everyone is invited to take part in the kite flying or to just come along and watch the amazing spectacle of fun and colour!

KITE DAY - New Years Day

When: New Years Day - 1 Jan every year - from 10.30am to approximately 4.00pm weather and wind dependent. 
2 January contingency day.

Details: Kids paper kite making kits available for gold coin donation.  Sausage sizzle for hungry kite fliers.
Supported by Chateau Tongariro and part of the Mahi Aroha - Doing it for Conservation programme
All proceeds will to to Project Tongariro to assist conservation efforts in Tongariro National Park.

Tussock Traverse

Our signature event and a fantastic day out!

Project Tongariro marshalls 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

The course cuts across the heart of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, starting off at the Desert Road on the eastern side of TNP and taking in the Rangipo Desert and Waihohonu traverse track before finishing at the Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa to the west. In 2012 we successfully introduced an additional two course distances which meant an increase in the total number of competitors allowed to take part in this spectacular alpine event! 

The iconic 26km course remains unchanged, with a maximum number of 500 participants; the two shorter distances include a 13km run/walk and a shorter 6.5km run/walk, both with a maximum of 500 participants in each event option.

The 26km run/walk course begins approximately 6km up the Tukino Road in the Rangipo Desert (entrance off the Desert Road, SH1) with a long hard climb straight up initially.  From there it's a mixture of rock hopping, lava fields, desert, alpine track (the views are amazing), and beech forest before finishing beside the Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa for a rest and BBQ.

The 13km and 6.5km options will both start and loop back to the event finish line at the Chateau Tongariro.

If you are keen to enter then go to 

Project Tongariro has been involved with the Tussock Traverse since its conception in 2006. Over the years it has become an iconic event for both its spectacular setting in World Heritage Tongariro National Park and for its ongoing contribution to conservation and restoration projects in the park.

The sand dunes around the Tukino mountain road, the start of the Tussock Traverse, have been the site of a successful, ongoing restoration project. The Tussock Traverse through Project Tongariro has been a major contributor.

Decades ago, the Ministry of Works planted marram grass to stabilise the sand dunes. However, the negative impact of this plan became apparent in more recent years as the vigorous and invasive marram grass seriously threatened the native plants in this area. A plan to eradicate the marram grass through spraying was implemented and was successful. Despite this, the original problem of erosion still existed. 4WD activity off the formed road has furthered the degradation of this area.

Together, DOC and Project Tongariro instigated and continue to support the community restoration programme to plant tussocks in the area to help stabalise the landscape. The partnership of Plateau Events, organisers of the Tussock Traverse, and Project Tongariro together with event participants help to make the restoration work possible.

Each competitor in the Tussock Traverse is given a tussock plant on the day and they have the choice to donate it back to Project Tongariro to be planted as part of the community tussock re-vegetation programme. In addition, for every competitor, Project Tongariro and Plateau Events provide an additional tussock for the cause. Then, in October of every year, Project Tongariro organises a volunteer group to go forth and plant the tussocks. Every year since 2006 around 400 tussocks, over 2000 in total, have been donated and planted in the area and you can now really see the difference in the landscape.

So by participating in the Tussock Traverse, each entrant knows that they are directly making a difference to the local landscape and contributing to the ongoing conservation of Tongariro National Park. And for those participants that are keen to follow the conservation effort full circle, competitors and families are invited to join the volunteer effort in October to help plant the tussocks.