Misinformation on Tongaririo National Park corrected
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
Introduction1 News has misrepresented the work being done to preserve and maintain the spiritual, cultural and physical wellbeing of the Tongariro National Park.
Date: 29 June 2017
DOC and Ngāti Tūwharetoa through Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro are disappointed 1 News has misrepresented the work being done to preserve and maintain the spiritual, cultural and physical wellbeing of the Tongariro National Park.
They are concerned TVNZ has muddied the waters by linking the Deed of Settlement to a strategic review of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is focussed on looking after the maunga and the park, as well as managing visitors to the park.
The collaboration between DOC, Ngāti Tūwharetoa through Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro and other interested parties is on a long-term strategy and a range of options to manage visitor flows into Tongariro National Park and in particular the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
“We have been looking at a variety of improvements and options to protect the park’s cultural and natural values, to improve the visitor experience and to manage the increased numbers visiting the park", says Allan Munn, DOC’s Regional Operations Director.
Negotiations for the Tongariro National Park claim have not yet started but in the Tūwharetoa Deed of Settlement, to be signed next weekend, there is a commitment by the Crown to start these negotiations within one year of the signing.
“We look forward to continue working with our partner Ngāti Tūwharetoa on the longer-term strategy for the park and the crossing, and we will be looking at implementing some of the changes the review has identified when the new walking season starts in October”, he says.
Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro kaumatua, Te Ngaehe Wanikau, was keen to take a long term strategic view. “Our ancestral connection with this land drives us to look hard at the values of Tongariro and what it means for the region.
“We recognise the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a significant part of the Central North Island tourism industry, so we need to give the visitors the best chance to enjoy the great experience. This means managing longer term expectations for the benefit of everyone involved.
“It is also about manaakitanga, or the safety and wellbeing of visitors, to this special place.
“The long term options and the resulting changes are not about the settlement, they are quite separate issues”, says Te Ngaehe.
The review will look towards the future and identify long term measures to ensure that an exceptional experience is available for New Zealanders and international visitors for the next 20 years or more.
This review will also consider aspects such as incorporating manaaki whenua and manaaki tangata of this special place, sustainable development and economic benefits to local communities, and a balanced approach to protect the natural and cultural heritage values.
Examples that the review is looking at are: further restrictions on car parking at both ends of the crossing, introducing park and ride from transport hubs in towns around the region and ways to stagger the numbers on the crossing.
Mr Munn says the current legislation prevents us from charging people coming into this or any other national park and there would need to be changes to legislation to impose charges for going into the park or walking the crossing.
As there are aspects of the experience that need attention now, while Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, DOC and key organisations decide on the long term actions, a number of immediate term aspects have been put in place.
These include installation of new toilets in three places on the alpine crossing route to prevent the need for visitors to relieve themselves at the sides of the track.
Also, next summer to alleviate the congestion at the start and finish of the crossing, DOC will introduce designated carparks. There will be no parking on the sides of Mangatepopo Road and on only one side of Ketetahi road. On high volume days people will be encouraged people to park and ride.
Stacey Faire, Senior Ranger/Supervisor Community
Phone: +64 27 542 8219