Stay off the top of sa­cred mount’

Ruapehu Press - - Out & About - MIRI SCHROETER

Tram­pers seek­ing to climb Mt Ngau­ruhoe, or ‘‘Mt Doom’’, will be asked to show ‘‘re­spect’’ for the moun­tain by giv­ing up their quest.

The pop­u­lar trek up Mt Ngau­ruhoe, a fea­ture of the Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing, is an added bonus for keen walk­ers who em­bark on the 20-kilo­me­tre jour­ney along one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks.

The moun­tain holds a spe­cial at­trac­tion for some vis­i­tors thanks to its fa­mous role as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings.

But the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (DOC) wants peo­ple to stop walk­ing up Ngau­ruhoe as its peak, along with Mt Ruapehu’s peak, are con­sid­ered sa­cred.

DOC re­moved ac­cess signs to the peaks in Oc­to­ber, and up to five rangers will be mon­i­tor­ing the area from Satur­day.

DOC bio­di­ver­sity ser­vices man­ager Bhrent Guy said the depart­ment was not telling peo­ple to stop climb­ing the moun­tain, but rangers would tell them ‘‘to re­spect [the moun­tain] by not go­ing up there’’.

There could be up to two ad­di­tional rangers each day this year shar­ing that mes­sage, Guy said.

Peo­ple would be ad­vised it was a cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant area, but DOC could not stop them from go­ing up the moun­tain.

It was time to show re­spect for the sa­cred land, he said.

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