A 51-year-old Chinese woman was found deceased near Red Crater in Tongariro National Park on Sunday. The tourist was part of a group of four hikers who left Whakapapa Village on Friday with the intention of completing the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
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The group separated with three women returning to Whakapapa Village while one continued to the Alpine Crossing section of the Circuit track. The alarm was raised on Sunday morning with the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre staff who alerted Police and LandSAR.
Police are currently investigating the incident.
With the support of the Department of Conservation, NZ Police and LandSAR, a rāhui (physical and spiritual protection mechanism) has been placed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing by Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro.
The rāhui is in place from Monday, October 21 and will be lifted at sunrise on Thursday, October 24. To show respect all hikers in the area are asked to consider using alternative tracks during this time.
Tongariro Operations Manager Connie Norgate says staff thoughts and condolences are with the family of the deceased during this difficult time.
“This tragic incident is a timely reminder that hikers need to be prepared for winter alpine conditions and should always turn back if they don’t feel confident in bad weather conditions.”
Snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures are likely to continue into November on both the Tongariro Northern Circuit and Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
“Anyone planning to hike these tracks in October and November should be prepared with alpine equipment – ice ax, crampons and experience using them, or consider a guided trip or alternative tracks such as Tama Lakes Track.”
For information on safety, alternative tracks and guiding operators see Tongariro National Park.