Stay off the top of sacred mount’
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.