The number of structures in Tongariro national park are being reduced, including buildings up on Mt Ruapehu.

Local iwi and the Department of Conservation want to see fewer buildings in the park out of respect for its cultural values.

Whakapapa and Tūroa Skifield operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts [RAL] will be removing a large structure on the upper mountain and a further six old buildings at Whakapapa, replacing them with a single, fit-for-purpose structure at the top of Bruce Road.

Tuwharetoa Negotiator, Te Ngahe Wanikau said the park was very significant on an international level, but to “add to the existing structures in any manner that did not reflect the spiritual values of the mountain would cause “great anguish” to Ngati Tuwharetoa and “greatly diminish” the value of any activity operating within the park and its environs.”

Department of Conservation (DOC) Director Operations, Central North Island Allan Munn said New Zealand had been poor, in the past, in setting limits on the number of visitors to some sites.

“New Zealanders have an interest in seeing values protected where possible or enhanced,” Munn said.

Source: Taupo Times/Stuff.co.nz

Image: Lyn Meredith

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