Concerns were expressed about the commercialisation of the natural resources in the area, and that tourists coming to use the area were not given the opportunity to learn about or experience more than the touristic value of the area, such as the cultural and spiritual values of the land.
“Being here, I didn’t want it to be too commercialised. I didn’t. I wanted us to have, there’s plenty of work, plenty to share and go around. Yes, it can be cutthroat out there, but I didn’t want it to be too commercialised. I wanted it to be kept natural. The Tongariro crossing for example, we have a lot of people who walk that mountain. And unfortunately there’s not enough education going out there to the people who are on it and unless you are in the industry then you have a possibility that you can start educating the people. But I don’t think there’s enough of it. It’s about our area, telling them about what they’re walking on. It’s not just something to tick off your bucket list. They could learn to appreciate what’s out there because we are very unique. I’m talking about the spiritual value of the area. It’s nice for people to come into our area, and that I love. You’ll never ever see out in the Tongariro National Park a building being put out there. And it’s been like that for many years and will be like that forever and a day for everybody to enjoy… It’s about how we can educate them about our land as a whole. And of course there’s the people. On this side of the maunga, the mountain, there’s Ngāti Tūwharetoa and on the other side is Ngāti Rangi so with all that in mind it’s about educating people about that too. But first and foremost when we have the visitors come into the area it’s about telling them about our trees and our environment and how unique it is.”
The benefits of better management of the Tongariro Crossing, in terms of managing visitor numbers, was seen as a positive move which has resulted in a recovery of the environment.
“On the Tongariro Crossing since they’ve put the restrictions on the road you can see mountain daisies again. Because people were always treading everywhere and they were taking that away. It’s nice! It’s awesome!”
The highest risk for civil defence emergencies was considered volcanic eruption, however the town has also been impacted by tornados. Snowstorms were also considered a risk.
“People are pretty much prepared or they tough it out anyway. I think people do have basic requirements; I think they do. We do not because we’ve planned for it but because that’s the sort of stuff we have. And I think that’s what it is, we have that stuff because of who we are. And if you don’t have it then people go around and check. Like with the tornado people just went around and checked, so if you didn’t have a torch battery, someone else would.”