Year off to a good start at Tongariro Centre


Tongariro Centre Manager, Janet Prior (pictured to the left) updates us on what’s been happening at the Centre…

The year has started well at Tongariro despite some unseasonal bad weather. Our new staff have settled in well, our staff training week was very productive and we are now in full swing with school groups and a new intake of Tertiary students.

“Youth learning through Adventure”, our new purpose, has been embraced by staff and we had a great session at staff training run by Bridget relating this to delivery.  Our instructors are really focussing about the educational outcomes aspect of their programmes and are choosing their activities with this in mind.

We are excited to announce that we have a new fleet of maverick inflatable kayaks mainly for use on the Tongariro River. These were sponsored by Genesis Energy and are generally taking the place of the tube rafting activity which will gradually be phased out. We have not stopped tube rafting completely, but we foresee that over time the kayaks will become the favoured trip.

In terms of school groups the kayaks are definitely a great way of travelling on the river and we have already run some successful trips with Palmerston North Boys High School, Tauranga Girls College and Hastings Boys School. Trips are generally incorporating a visit to the Trout hatchery on the way and always start with some river skills and a safety session on rescues, swimming in moving water etc.

Check out our staff below testing them out on the Tongariro during staff training.

Staff training on the lower Tongariro in the Mavericks

A significant event took place at dawn on 8 February 2017 when the three carvings from the Outdoor Leadership School (OLS) were moved to the main Centre and were relocated in the foyer of the Office building.  Representatives from Ngati Hikairo joined with a small group of Centre staff at the OLS to celebrate the occasion.

It was a beautiful dawn which set the scene for a small but intimate ceremony and Karakia at the OLS before the carvings were moved to the main site with another Karakia followed by some kai.

The carvings – Pakaurangi, Ruaumoko and Tane Mahuta, were commissioned by ‘The Genesis Power Company’, as it was then, and to be carved by the contract carvers of Te Wanangao Aotearoa in Kihikihi. The carvers, Sam Roa, Shane Roa and Shane Tamaki were of Ngatii Hikairi descent. The carvings were made from part of the old railway bridge at the Taurewa site. They were placed in the entrance to the OLS when it was opened in 2005 in the presence of some significant guests including Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary, Timoti Te Heuheu and Dame Jenny Shipley.

Many thanks to the Hillary Outdoors staff who supported this event, and to Ngati Hikairo who created a warm and inclusive atmosphere.  Special thanks to Kerrian Duff from Ngati Hikairo who instigated the process.

Pakaurangi – one of the three carvings now located in the office foyer

Finally we are all very excited about welcoming Jono Maxwell to lead our team at Tongariro as Centre Manager. We wish him all the best in the role.  I will be replacing Mike, who has retired, as Programme Manager. I am looking forward to liaising with you all about your programmes and assisting you to plan your visits.