Project Tongariro

Project Tongariro logo.

Project Tongariro (previously known as Tongariro Natural History Society Inc) was established in 1984 to promote a wider understanding of the natural processes and human history of Tongariro National Park.

It is a group of like-minded people from all over New Zealand and beyond who appreciate Tongariro National Park as a special place for its natural, cultural and recreation values. Their goal is to introduce people to the park and surrounding natural areas through our volunteer projects and outings.

Kite Day, Tongariro Taupo Summer Programme.
Kite Day, Tongariro Taupo Summer Programme


Working in partnership with the Department of Conservation, the group's vision is to promote a wider knowledge and understanding of the flora, fauna, geology, climate and the natural and human history of Tongariro National Park in particular, and of conservation in general. A deep respect for New Zealand's wild places and recognition of the intangible spiritual values associated with them underlies our vision.

They are devoted to implementing a wide variety of projects and activities that help people to understand and appreciate the special place Tongariro National Park, a dual world heritage park, has in the world.

Project Tongariro has a strong commitment to conservation and works in active partnership with the Department of Conservation. They undertake a number of conservation projects in the Tongariro National Park, using their members plus New Zealand and international volunteers.


The group aims to:

  • Promote a wider knowledge and understanding of the flora, fauna, geology, climate and the natural and human history of the Tongariro National Park
  • Promote and publicise research about ecology and natural history generally
  • Publish, sell and distribute information, publications and programmes promoting our objectives

What the group does

The group's work focuses on four key project areas: biodiversity, history, education and recreation. Over almost 30 years they have been involved in dozens of fantastic projects in and around the Tongariro National Park – from ongoing pest control work at Rotopounamu, the restoration of the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, initiating the Tussock Traverse event, to the production of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Pocket Ranger App.

Lake Rotopounamu.
Lake Rotopounamu


In recent times the group has:

  • Developed the very popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing Pocket Ranger App in partnership with DOC
  • Restored the historic Hapuawhenua Viaduct and Old Coach Road near Ohakune, in partnership with DOC and Ohakune 2000 – this is now a unique cycleway and walking trail between Ohakune and Horopito
  • Contributed 800 volunteer days annually through the Project Tongariro volunteers
  • Completed revegetation of the Lord of the Rings filming sites on Mount Ruapehu
  • Undertaken flora monitoring and propagation (ongoing)
  • Undertaken forest restoration around Lake Rotopounamu / Mount Pihanga (ongoing)
  • Published books about the history, geology and botany of the Tongariro National Park, plus historical reprints
  • Organised an annual programme of conservation activities for members and other volunteers
  • Distributed the Project Tongariro Memorial Award to students doing a significant research project relating to Tongariro National Park
  • Curated the William Salt historic photo exhibition at Taupo Museum in 2009

Current projects

The group is involved with:

  • Lake Rotopounamu restoration and Adopt a Hectare donation support
  • Waimarino wetland restoration – willow eradication on Lake Taupo in partnership with DOC and iwi
  • Kiwi egg transport as part of Operation Nest Egg
  • Stone sanctuary – restoration of a historic chairlift drive station on Whakapapa ski area
  • Key role in the annual summer nature programme of walks and talks in the Tongariro National Park

Get involved!

You can support Project Tongariro in a variety of ways:

  • Become a member
  • Adopt a hectare at Lake Rotopounamu
  • Make a donation

We offer opportunities for people to get hands-on with conservation as volunteers, to go on members’ field trips to little-known parts of the park, or to support our projects by making a financial contribution. 

Related links


Find out more

Learn more

Naturespace - ecological restoration groups in your area


To find out how you can get involved in conservation activities near you, contact your local DOC office