Sprawled at the centre of New Zealand’s North Island is Tongariro National Park (Te Papa Rēhia o Tongariro), a land of fascinating elements shaped by fire and ice. Three mighty maunga (or mountains) are the jewels in this alpine crown: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. All three are active volcanoes, giving rise to an otherworldly landscape brimming with geological and geothermal wonders.
This book describes how culture and science have both recognised and explained the genesis and significance of these mountains. It illuminates the powerful forces that have sculpted these iconic features sitting high on a volcanic plateau, and how the geography we admire is an expression of processes that have been unfolding over millions of years.
This is also a story about how culture and science came together to create New Zealand’s first National Park and the fourth in the world. It is an acknowledgement of the scientific importance of the mountains as well as their contribution to the nation’s identity.