State of Conservation (SOC)
Tongariro National Park (1998)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Increase of the possom population and use of poison (issue resolved)
Current conservation issues
The New Zealand authorities in their letter of 11 September 1998, have pointed out that an eruption of the Mt. Ruapehu in 1953 caused one of the country’s major civilian disasters and that there is an inevitability of a lahar from the crater following the present eruption. The Minister for Conservation has called for a comprehensive environmental and cultural assessment identifying the risks and assessing impacts of options for their mitigation. The New Zealand authorities consider the following three as the most practical options at present:
(a) installing an alarm and warning system;
(b) building structures off the mountain to contain the lahar expected when the ash-dam fails; and
(c) bulldozing a trench through the ash-dam itself, although the sub-option of hand digging a shallow trench has not yet been entirely dismissed.
The Park management is in regular consultation with the Ngati Rangi and the Ngati Tuwharetoa Tribes to exchange information and views and it appears very clear that they do not like the idea of engineering works at the Crater Lake. Ngati consider that the excavation at the crater “challenges the indigenous integrity and strength of the cultural World Heritage status” of the Park. However, both Tribes understand the risks to public safety and infrastructure (e.g. bridges and roads) and the Paramount Chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa intends to convene a consultation group to work through the issues with Park management. When the draft report on the environmental and cultural assessment is ready to be released, both Tribes will be consulted. The Department of Conservation is committed to a consultation process that will support an exemplary code of ethical conduct and field conservation practice that emphasise social responsibility and cultural sensitivity. The Director of the Centre, who attended the World Heritage celebrations in Tongariro National Park during the weekend of 21-22 November 1998 confirmed this extremely sensitive approach taken by the management in searching for solutions to this issue.
The Bureau commended the New Zealand authorities for the ethically and culturally sensitive manner in which they are addressing this issue. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to submit a status update on the management of the ash build up at the Crater Lake outlet on Mt. Ruapehu to its twenty-third session in 1999.
Link to the decision
VII.30 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV on the following properties:
Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia)
Mount Taishan (China, Peoples Republic of)
Mount Huangshan (China, People's Republic of)
Ohrid Region with its Cultural and Historical Aspect and its Natural Environment (Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of)
Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons) (Mali)
Tongariro National Park (New Zealand).
No draft Decision
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The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).