Rāhui in place following mountain climbing death

A rāhui has been placed on Mount Ngāuruhoe until sunrise on Tuesday August 9, following the death of a person on the mountain. Photo: Kiwi Direct.

Police were alerted shortly after 5pm on Friday by Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand after a Personal Locator Beacon activation in the Tongariro National Park.

"A group had been mountain climbing on Mt Ngāuruhoe, when one of them fell into a gully," says a Police spokesperson.

Sadly, although quickly located by the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The man's body was uplifted successfully late this morning in a coordinated effort by Police and members of the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation using a helicopter."

Relieving Response Manage Acting Senior Sergeant Shane McNally would like to thank all of those involved in the recovery efforts last night and this morning.

“While this is a tragic outcome, we are glad we can bring his body home for his loved ones and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time," says Senior Sergeant McNailly.

"It is with great sadness that Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro and Ngati Tūwharetoa acknowledge the recent death in Tongariro National Park," says Department of Conservation Tongariro Operations Manager George Taylor.

With the support of Department of Conservation, NZ Police and LandSAR a rāhui has been placed on Mount Ngāuruhoe from Saturday August 6 and will be lifted at sunrise on Tuesday August 9. 

Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro and the Department of Conservation ask that visitors respect this important cultural practice by not climbing Mount Ngāuruhoe until the rāhui is lifted.

"A rāhui - physical and spiritual protection mechanism - sets a temporary prohibition around the rāhui area and limits access for that period in order to acknowledge the death and to express our sympathy to the whānau of the deceased.

"It provides time for tapu - sacredness -  to dissipate following the death allowing time for healing and recovery of the natural elements at place as well as the people; in particular the grieving whānau," says George.

“We offer our condolences to the whānau and friends of the climber.”

To show respect all hikers in the area are asked to consider using alternative tracks and avoid Ngāuruhoe during the rāhui.

The man’s death has been referred to the coroner.

He rāhui. He aitua! He aitua! Ka papaki te tai o te atarau, ka huri aku kamo ki te tihi o Tongariro ki nga hihi o te ra e piata mai ana. Aue taukuri e!

A reservation. It's a disaster! It's a disaster! The evening tide splashed, and my eyelids turned towards the peak of Tongariro in the rays of the coming sun. Oh dear!

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