Mount Tongariro DOC tracks and huts closed
Mount Tongariro DOC tracks and huts closed until further notice
The Department of Conservation says tracks and huts on Mt Tongariro will remain closed for the immediate future while GNS experts continue to assess volcanic activity on the mountain.
GNS has described the overnight eruption at Te Maari Crater as a small scale hydrothermal event and volcanic specialists are continuing to monitor the situation.
Ruapehu Area Manager Nic Peet says earlier today DOC and police staff visited all four huts on Mt Tongariro.
Three of the huts – Ketetahi, Waihohonu, Oturere - were clear of trampers and three men found at the Mangatepopo Hut on the opposite side of the mountain were safely walked out of the area.
Ketetahi Hut, which is closest to the crater eruption and was unoccupied at the time, has suffered boulder damage.
Nic Peet says the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the Tongariro Northern Circuit and the huts on the mountain will remain closed until the risk to public safety has eased.
He says the wider Tongariro National Park remains open with Mount Ruapehu and the Whakapapa and Turoa skifields unaffected by the event.
Nic Peet says DOC will continue to liaise closely with GNS, local councils and iwi about the situation over coming days.