Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Last two towers installed for Mt Ruapehu’s new gondola


Last two towers installed for Mt Ruapehu’s new gondola

MT RUAPEHU, 20 MAY 2019: The final two of 14 towers forming the base of the pathway for Mt Ruapehu’s new gondola are now in place.

Both towers 11 and 7 were a challenge to install, located in difficult to access locations with little access to power and machinery. Tower 11 was also a geologically complex site making it extra challenging.

Whakapapa GM Jono Dean says, “Tower 7 is located in a really tricky spot on a ridge near Hut Flat (called AA Ridge). The challenge here was excavating a large enough hole for the concrete footing and was complicated by the fact that we could only use a small excavator.

“On top of this we needed to bag all of the excavated material and lift it out with the material ropeway, and store it safely until the footing was ready to be back filled. It’s essentially been a hand dug excavation.”

Jono adds that installing Tower 11 was just as challenging. “It’s located in a small outcropping on a location we call ‘2nd Waterfall’. The rock is solid lava so there was no possibility of excavating a traditional footing here. In addition to this we have no way to get an excavator to this site so all the drilling had to be done with handheld units.

“Four large anchor bolts were set into the rock, glued into place and then once set, pull tested to ensure they were sufficiently strong for the foundation to be anchored to. The tower itself is the tallest on the whole lift at 22m.”

Next the haul rope for the gondola will be installed. Pilot lines (which are smaller in diameter) are already in place and these will be used to pull the main haul rope up and then back down the other side of the lift ready to be spliced together. The spool containing the haul rope (as shown in one of the attached pictures) weighs approximately 48,000kg.

Jono says that the Leitner Ropeways team has faced a number of challenges along the way with the gondola project but has overcome them all very efficiently and kept construction progressing as quickly as possible.

“Delays are expected working in an everchanging mountain environment and due to this the opening date for the Sky Waka has moved out a little from the beginning of June to the end. This will coincide with expected opening of the upper mountain at the end of June, our normal Whakapapa season opening date. Happy Valley will open on 1 June as scheduled.”

The new high-speed Sky Waka features fifty Sky Waka gondola cabins with floor to ceiling glass for breathtaking views, internal ski racks, audio and lighting and individual leather seats offering business-class luxury to passengers befitting of the UNESCO Dual World Heritage status of Whakapapa Ski Area. Each cabin accommodates 10 passengers and even the tallest skiers will be able to stand upright in the cabin with more than 2m of internal clearance.

The Sky Waka will run from the Top of the Bruce base area directly to the Knoll Ridge Café. It will transport 2,400 people per hour over the 1.8km in approximately 5 minutes.

As a public benefit entity RAL invests its proceeds back into developing the mountain's facilities and the new gondola forms part of the $100m reinvestment strategy announced by the RAL board in 2015.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

There are backyard trapping networks doing their bit for Predator Free 2050, farmers planting native trees along their waterways, and iwi protecting whenua rāhui. There are 62 biodiversity sanctuaries across 56,000 hectares, with around two-thirds of them community-led. There are citizen scientists counting birds in their backyards and landowners conserving habitat in 3,500 Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants.

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

Closing This Weekend! Have Your Say On The Issues For NZ's New Biodiversity Strategy

Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind. HAVE YOUR SAY HERE>>

Biodiversity HiveMind Preliminary Progress Report
Open data report summarising preliminary findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind. Read Progress Report Here>>


PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>


Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>


Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>


Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>


PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>





InfoPages News Channels