The Volcanic Giants…
Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu
Tongariro National Park boasts dual World Heritage status. It was designated the title on the 23 September 1887, signalling the importance of the area for its outstanding natural features and the cultural importance that the peaks and rivers represent to local Maori.
Ngati Tuwharetoa paramount chief, Te Heuheu Tukino IV gifted 2630 hectares of the central volcanic area to the New Zealand Government. The gift included the summits of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. This gift ultimately means the area is now secure, meaning everyone can enjoy the mountains forever.
Te Heuheu said
"Behold, beyond are the fires of these mountains and the lands we have held in trust for you. Take them in your care and cherish them, they are your heritage and the heritage of your children."
All three volcanoes have erupted in recent times. The last confirmed eruption of Tongariro was 1897 (Te Maari) at the end of a sequence lasting at least 40 years.
In 1990 the park was recognised as a World Heritage Site for its outstanding natural values. The volcanoes in particular, are noted for the frequency of eruptions, their highly explosive nature and the high density of volcanic vents.
In 1993, Tongariro National Park became the first place in the world to be listed as a World Heritage Site for the spiritual and cultural values the landscape possesses for the indigenous people in the area.