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Previous Issues:

Issue 60 - 10 May 2012
Issue 59 - 12 March 2012
Issue 58 - 09 November 2011
Issue 57 - 09 September 2011
Issue 56 - 04 August 2011
Issue 55 - 14 July 2011
Issue 54 - 16 June 2011
Issue 53 - 16 May 2011
Issue 52 - 09 April 2011
Issue 51 - 02 March 2011


ISSUE 61         FRIDAY 29 JUNE 2012...

Welcome to Issue of 61 Manganui Notes, the e-newsletter of Manganui Ski Area and Stratford Mountain Club.

So we finally got underway here at Manganui on Sunday 17 June!
Sounded like a good fun slide was had, in great conditions for our opening day. Rain has since put pay to the reasonable cover we had, we await more weather and more snow generating systems (just like the middle of the island are)
Once again, a big westerly cool airstream delivered more snow our way, unfortunately not quite enough to operate on Thursday...

Thursday 10:30am

In this issue...

Major Sponsor
of the SMC enewsletter

Contact Us:
06-759 4609
New Plymouth

Get all your winter gear here.
New season Icebreaker now in store.
Season Rental now available!

Kiwi Outdoors Centre
18 Ariki Street,  New Plymouth
Phone and Fax (06) 7584152


4 Mustang Dve Bell Block
New Plymouth
phone and fax (06)755 0005


Scott Oliver 1949-2012

GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area

Part time mid-week Canteen worker wanted!

If Interested, then please contact Jenni Fletcher m 027 4449475 or Rob Needs 027 2702932

Snow Safety Services 2012

We have a new team in our Snow Safety Services for 2012. Todd Velvin is the Coordinator, with Jenni Fletcher as Convenor. Kim Dansk will add to the on-mountain team, with Todd overseeing the avalanche advisory for Taranaki (and hence the ski area).

SMC is appreciative of Todd being available to help out for 2012, and with a local like Kim training towards his level 2, we are well set up for this season.
Further to this, due to Morgan Davies' great work, we have also secured a volunteer in the form of a national from Canada (more below).

Todd and Kim are happy for anybody interested in Guiding, snowpack assessment, or indeed keen to advance their navigation skills in backcountry winter terrain, to tag along with them when they do their assessmets.
Kim is training towards his Avalanche Level 2 qualification, so intends to log plenty of time at Manganui and surrounding areas in these areas.

Also, if anyone is interested in giving skiing/boarding a banana boat, feel free to contact the Snow Safety Services team; they are more than willing to pass on skills for this task (the more that are able to do this the better SMC is. 

Todd has requested that any snow condition information you have can be readily passed onto the Snow Safety Services team; gathering snow data is all about information sharing, and the more info they have, the more they can extrapolate. So that includes observations of recent snow activity, slides, avalanches, or other snow/weather observations you may have.

ps Brooke Fletcher returns as the Mountain Manager for 2012, so will coordinate and be responsible for field operations and lifts on operating days.

Volunteer Antoine Wernet from Canada

This year we have Antoine visiting us from Canada. Antoine has a background in Ski Patrol and adventure tourism.
He was keen to come to New Zealand and Taranaki and the club on a volunteer basis. After arriving next week, and after a few days down below, he will be based in the Manganui Lodge on the ski area, and intends to be in the region till September all going well! He will be part of our Snow Safety Program under the guidance of Todd, as well as helping out around the Ski Area gaining experience.
Antoine will be our eyes and ears on the mountain and will assist the snow safety program. We are fortunate to have him here and we hope the experience and benefits are mutual! Please welcome him along.

Some of Antoines experience/credentials:
• Adventure Tourism Technology
• Camp Leader Certificate             
• Scientific Baccalaureate, speciality in Physics & Chemistry                   
• Ski patroller, volunteer, 25 days through the winter
  Mont Bechervaise, Gaspé, QC Winter
• Avalanche Operator Level 1 CAA 
• Avalanche Skills Training 1 CAC 
• Avalache Skills Training 2 CAC 
• Ski patroller first aid CSPS December
• Wilderness Advanced First Aid
• CPR Heart & Stroke Foundation  
• Telemark Instructor 1 CANSI 
• Swiftwater technician R3
• Leave no trace Trainer LNT September 2011 01-09-2012

If any Club Members are keen to look after Antoine, should he need a break from the Ski Area (eg no snow), and possibly show him a bit around the province?
If they could contact Morgan Davies on 027 3466155 or email Morgan can help organise this. (Hopefully we will have snow though!)

Scott Oliver 1949-2012
Obituary by Chris Burr SMC Patron 

Scott’s love of the mountain, skiing and the Stratford Mountain Club began in the 1960s and it didn’t take him long to get involved in all manner of club activities and his electrical background came in very handy when problems on the ski field occurred, which in the early years was frequently.
Scott was involved at a time of transitional change for the club. We were beginning to move away from the rope tows and explore T bar options for the lower field and in order for that to happen we needed strong capable young leaders to lead us through this change.
I remember quite a few marathon committee meetings at Stratford and watching Scott roll his eyes from time to time as he looked at his watch in frustration.
Thankfully Scott’s pragmatic nature and outstanding leadership qualities ensured we came up with sensible solutions that suited our situation. The T bar and the lower field was where Scott applied his expertise with the installation of the T bar in 1974. He also spent many hours mowing the field with the old Gravely Mower.
Scott had two terms as President from 1978-1981 and 1986-1987 he was Vice President from 1975-1978 and 1982-1985, Club Captain from 1970-1972.
In 1970 he received a Silver Joyce Beale award  in 1976 he received a Gold Joyce Beale and the Thatcher Trophy in 1982 for outstanding service to the Club. 
In 1986 he became the youngest club member to receive Life Membership. He was 37 years of age and it was an award he richly deserved.
Scott donated to the Club in 1972, the Scott Oliver Trophy and the winner of the inaugural event was Stu Thwaites.  Scott was an excellent skier and was always keen to zip through the poles and race in the various club races that were held from time to the time.
The Stratford Mountain Club has a long proud tradition and Scott’s contribution has ensured that legacy continued. Manganui is unique to Taranaki and the memories forged and friendships made do last a lifetime.

New Manganui Ski Area Lite Site for your smartphone!!!!

We have just completed our lite site

This is a basic low data site designed with your smartphone in mind.
It is linked to this QR code:

Any QR code scanner can be used to scan this image and bring up your smartphone browser with the new lite site (free in your App Store for Apple, or Play Store for Android). Bookmark it, then you'll always have it close by...
In this site you will find the following core info:

  • snow report data (including LIVE weatherstation data)
  • forecast data
  • latest webcam image
  • location
  • basic contact info
  • easy button to the snowphone

So, now you're only as far away from Manganui's snow report page and webcam image, as that smartphone in your pocket!

This QR code will load up our lite site from any iPhone, Android, Blackberry; if scanning from PC or Tablet, it will load our full website.

Site developed by Mobi NZ

supporting SMC junior ski racing and training


Ski/Board Swap review

By all accounts the ski swap went well!
Not as many sellers as last year meant that almost all the gear that was reasonably priced sold fast.
Also no retailers were at our swap this season, so less retail gear was around.

Subscriptions were processed.
The winner of the lucky draw for the season pass was Jack Anderson.

We are looking at tagging on a bit of a social event after this for next year, a big screen movie with a few social beers after the ski swap has finished, that sort of thing.

The SMC Junior Ski Racing and Training Team's objective is to develop ski racers' (Juniors and Seniors) skills and promote the fun of skiing through training and competition.

The SMC Junior Ski Racing and Training Team's programmes are designed to be adaptable to suit the needs of the athletes. Programmes are organized into categories based primarily on age classifications.

SMC is a member of the Alpine Skiing Committee of SnowSports NZ (SSNZ), the newly restructured national body for alpine ski racing. SMC pay an annual levy to ensure that any of our racers can represent SMC at sanctioned race events throughout the country.
The age groups are:

Age Group Date of Birth
E1 2003
E2 2001/2002
K1 1999/2000
K2 1997/98
J1 1995/96
J2 1993/94

Upcoming Events

2012 Northern Interfield Race - Turoa - 12 August

SMC Race Training

Most Race Training is done at Manganui Ski Area (on good snow years), usually on Saturdays or Sundays when the field is operating.
Progression follows on to Mt. Ruapehu, as below:

Race Training participation Manganui
Junior Series participation Ruapehu
National Series competition Ruapehu
F.I.S. Series competition Ruapehu

Once progression is made to the Junior Series, competitors are required to become members of SnowSports New Zealand.
Registration is taken care of by us.

For further information please contact
our Racing and Training coordinator
Clive Saleman or our Coach Christina Binsbergen

The Sport of Alpine Ski Racing

Ski racing is about racing - fastest time from top to bottom wins.
Alpine skiing has changed over the past 150 years with great advances in ski equipment, technology and timing equipment. But the essence has stayed the same.
It’s a sport that requires great courage and skill in equal measure; strength, agility balance and technique, based around rules.
But it’s simply the time it takes a skier to go from the start to the finish, passing through a series of gates on the way down, that determines the outcome of each race.

The five core disciplines ski racers compete in at the Olympics:
highest speeds biggest risks, the most glamorous of all the alpine disciplines. greatest vertical drop opeeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour.
combines the raw speed of downhill racing with the technical skill of slalom, long, sweeping high-speed turns.
synonymous with technical ability. Aggression, strength and agility, shorter courses that feature the most turns of any alpine event. They must pass between poles that form a series of gates arranged in a series of different configurations. The skier with the best combined time from two separate runs is declared the winner. Because slalom skiers take a direct line and knock poles out of the way as they pass through (“blocking”), they wear protective equipment that includes shin pads, arm guards, padded gloves and face guards.
 giant slalom features longer course than traditional slalom, with over 30 gates. Giant slalom skis are longer than slalom skis but shorter than skis for speed events. Giant slalom generally features two runs – held on different courses on the same ski run. The skier with the fastest combined time wins.
 consisting of a shortened downhill or super-G run followed by a slalom run, super combined combines a speed event with a technical event to showcase overall skiing skills.


SMC acknowledges support given by NZ Community Trust, towards our Vegetation Report.


Hi SMC club members.

Another month has passed since the last newsletter. This time we can report that Sunday the 17th June was our open day. The keen ones were up there enjoying a slide around. Thanks goes out to all those who have helped over the summer months doing working bees to get it to that point and to all of our club members supporting by paying your yearly subs. This club would not be operating if those two factors were missing.

Next time we get going again, get up there in the white stuff before we lose it as we never know when it's back again. Fingers cross it won't be one of those seasons.


Rhys Williams

Madwax is stocked at Kiwi Outdoors Centre and at Vertigo SH45

Access Tow ramp realignment project taking shape


The SMC committee has and or is working on a number of projects this year.
These include…

  • Insurance, assessment of latest quotes
  • Vegetation Report - completion by Waikato University
  • 3-YEAR MAJOR FUNDING PROJECT - 2012 – T-BAR TOWERS REPLACEMENT - costing quotes and planning 
  • Groomer Maintenance
  • General Lodge Maintenance
  • access tow maintenance - new get-on ramp
  • Lodge bookings and marketing
  • SMC smartphone lite site ( creation

Should be a much easier get-on


Powerco Update

Powerco has continued to improve the electricity supply up Pembroke Rd to the ski field since last year when the field was hampered with outages.

Recently Powerco updated the committee on significant improvements in reliability. A summary is below:

Over 2011 and 2012 Powerco has spent and committed nearly $600,000 on upgrades covering:

• Cabling the upper mountain portion of overhead line
• Installing new switchgear at the Mountain House and Plateau Area
• Installing upgraded transformers
• Replacing the re-closer at the park gates
• Replacing lightening arresters
• Adding line fault indicators
• Extensive tree trimming

Work-to-date has resulted in average outage numbers falling from 28 per month to only having one outage in the last 9-months.

While the improvement in reliability is pleasing, maintaining electricity supply in an alpine environment is extremely difficult and cannot be guaranteed.  This on-going risk needs to be carefully considered by the club with respect to its operations. 

Further development on the mountain is focussed on replacing the overhead line from the park gate to the mountain house. For this project to proceed the various customers on the mountain will need to provide some funding in partnership with Powerco. These discussions are on-going.

example of one of the many overhead lines and power poles, above the mountain house, now redundant and due for removal

The Stratford Mountain Club continues to work proactively with Powerco to achieve improvement in this area. It has agreed to help Powerco with a further task of  the removal of some upper mountain power poles which are no longer used because of the completed cabling project. This work is likely to form the basis for a working bee early next summer.

info: Stephen Nicolls Powerco

Mounga to Maori - Mt. Taranaki Users and Iwi Hui

Summary of Hui between concessionaires, other users and Iwi facilitated by the Department of Conservation Wednesday 16th May...

Present: Taranaki Iwi Trust; Heliview; TOPEC; MacAlpine Guides Taranaki; Egmont Alpine Club; 2 Degrees; GNS; Chorus; Massey University (Student); Fulton Hogan; Taranaki Kiwi Trust; New Plymouth, South Taranaki, and Stratford i-Sites; Taranaki Mountain Biking Club; Kiwi Outdoors Centre; Venture Taranaki; Kiwi Tours; Stratford Mountain Club Incorporated; Fish and Game; DOC Staff, David Reilly.

Summary of Hui
The following is intended to summarise the Hui that took place at the North Egmont Visitor Centre on May 16 2012. It is not verbatim and is not intended to be the opinion of any person but more of a discussion document and a starting point for further engagement.
Initially there was a DOC presentation on what management activities are undertaken on the Mountain.

Four Iwi have specific whakapapa sites on the Mounga, other Iwi of Taranaki affiliate to the Mounga. Each of these Iwi were going to be present at the Hui. The only Iwi that attended was Taranaki Iwi so the tangata whenua views expressed are theirs.

Taranaki Iwi
– whakapapa is present from the mounga to the sea – the mounga is tupuna. It defines who Taranaki Iwi are. The association of Taranaki Iwi to the Mounga is expressed through a wide range of mediums including waiata, karakia and mihi. Rua Taranaki was a place to gather cultural materials, and inter the dead – not a place to go without a purpose.

The summit
– Iwi generally don’t go into the crater and higher. The top of mountain is tapu – the head and the place of knowledge (rua Taranaki). If people are aware of the values then they can respect them. There are a number of reasons for this including Hinengaro and hair. It is a choice whether you respect the cultural values.

Mt. Taranaki from Pembroke Road, June 22

Acknowledge different peoples cultural values
– all countries/cultures have there own values and it is reasonable to respect the values of from that place especially if you are in that place. The object of expressing cultural values is not to ostracise a group, and is not intended to convince others that one cultures values are correct, but that there is an opportunity to discuss each others values. All people make decisions based on information that they have – it is up to individuals what they do with it.
An important aspect of the Mounga are the rivers, and streams as life in these is vital to the whole region.
Kaitiakitanga is vital for Iwi especially in culturally important places such as the Mounga. Māori have not abdicated this role and are still working through how this will translate into the management of the Mounga. The key reasons for this are protection of the cultural (and biological) values of the Mounga for future generations.
Moving forward, no one is going away, Mounga – Iwi – Users – DOC; therefore the key to getting along is relationships and there are opportunities for education Iwi is currently discussing with the crown its role in this.
To express the cultural values of the Mounga would take much longer than three hours. It takes time to spill the beans and to Iwi relationships are more important than information, relationships will lead to knowledge. Taranaki Iwi also has specific association with the Pouākai and Kaitake Ranges as there are caves with rangatira buried and places where papakäinga are located.
However the specific locations of these are not made publically available as people are inquisitive and would tutu around these sites. This is potentially an instance where Iwi may be willing to provide names and stories for these sites while keeping specific locations to themselves. Another key site for Taranaki Iwi is Karakatonga (see which is seen as the starting place of Taranaki and Te Atiawa Iwi. The importance of this site is highlighted by the use of the place names from Karakatonga around Puniho.

Mt Taranaki from the ski field access track, June 22

A key point raised by attendees was the difficulty of getting cultural information. Taranaki Iwi identified that the best way to start finding information was to research using readily available information through using web searches and online information.
Make the effort to research – much Iwi time is voluntary so don’t expect them to do the donkey work for you. All people are busy, if you want information take the time to look for it yourself – the Department of Conservation (the Department) and/or Iwi can point you in the right direction.

If you consider that you have made a reasonable attempt to obtain information for yourself then the next step is to make/strengthen relationships – the Department is a starting point as it has good connections with Iwi. The Department can also provide a wide range of information (especially if the request is specific) or put people in touch with the relevant Iwi or hapu. LINZ also has information on databases and maps.
Some of the cultural information has previously been part of publication.
For example tangata whenua names have eroded from the maps – the site now shown on maps as Warricks Castle was originally given the name Te Tahuna o Tutawa by tangata whenua and is an important site where a Pou is located. This marks the boundary between three Iwi (Taranaki, Te Atiawa and Ruanui). Another example of a cultural stories that is available relates to kōkōwai. Making this more publically available would increase the publics appreciation of this site.
If the information is not readily available then you will need to develop a relationship with Iwi to obtain this information.
Māori names often relate to stories for example whakangerengere some of which are appropriate for general dissemination. Others are only for persons who have earned the right.
It was noted by an operator that regularly visits the Mounga that anything worth getting is hard to achieve – it’s a journey and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Relationships are based on trust which require more than simply asking for knowledge.
Iwi are interested in the activities that occur within their rohe and like to be involved in knowing who is operating and have a relationship with those people and organisations. GNS identified that they are happy to provide volcanology, seismic and geological information to Iwi whether it be through a Hui, board meeting or another forum.

The Department acknowledges that as the manager and administrator of the Mounga it has a responsibility to users and Iwi to provide appropriate information.
The Department has a wide range of information on the Mounga but before it disseminates this information it needs to ensure that the information is appropriate to disseminate and discuss with Iwi how this information should be provided to the public. Through consultation (some of which has already been initiated) it will work with Iwi to determine what should be on maps.

Should all known sites be provided with details on how to get there? One example is Te Maru Pa (urupa) which is currently on maps but Iwi would prefer it was not visited. It was noted that this site is often not easy to find in any case, so some sites may protect themselves even if they are known.

The key message that came through, was that relationships were central to effective and culturally sensitive management of the Mounga. Taranaki Iwi identified that their key message is that they like to be involved from the start. Front Loading – this means approaching Iwi prior to submitting applications to build the relationship and minimise the risk of delays to processes or outcomes that are unsatisfactory to all.

Current statutory consultation processes do not adequately cover Iwi concerns and they consider that they are often seen as ‘stick in the muds’ but this perception often occurs due to only being made aware of the application when they are asked to sign off on it. They would like to be involved earlier so that they can ensure they are up-to-date with applications and potential applications and have time to allocate resources to ensure adequate attention can be paid to the application in a timely manner. Also this would give Iwi the opportunity to ask for further information early on rather than when the council/department has tight processing timeframes.
Iwi provide information through trust – this is true for sites on the Mounga and liaison regarding other proposals. Iwi recognises that development and tourism and a healthy economy are important.

Three of the Iwi (Taranaki, Nga Ruahine and Te Atiawa) are currently in the settlement process. The Mounga is not currently part of a claim but settlement of the Mounga will be after all Iwi have settled or at least in a position to settle (Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Tama and Nga Rauru have already settled). This may include specific changes to names whether this is in a way similar to Mount Taranaki/Egmont or a straight substitution. This will not be to whakahe others history but to include consideration of tangata whenua values and consider whether, for example, a guy sailing past really had much of a relationship with the Mounga. This process is likely to reinforce that Iwi are not a stakeholder but instead have the right to sit at the table with crown or local government to manage areas and develop strategic visions. We could wait for co governance to be required by law or we can build capacity and relationships now.

In relation to media stories about activity on the Mounga,
Taranaki Iwi encourages all users to come to the Iwi first before going to media with any issues so that things are well managed and that we gain a better understanding of the issues rather than rushing to the media.

Topics to consider further (in addition to those discussed above):
Engagement – this will hopefully be one of a number of Hui – this forum is a way to initiate contact and will hopefully provide a place to discuss relevant topics and foster and reinforce relationships. Commercial success is linked to working together – Iwi-DOC-Users. What is the best method of achieving this?
What about people who visit the park without guides or information on cultural sites? What information can DOC provide? Signage for example should a small sign on the translator road gate state that the summit is culturally sensitive.
DOCs vision 60:40 – working with others to achieve conservation (biological and cultural). Taranaki is special as a national park due to the proximity to population centres – users, Iwi and DOC and all others who have a relationship with the Mounga.

Chris Rendall
Department of Conservation
Ranger Community Relations

One of 2 signs on the Ski Area access track uphill and downhill approaches to the head of Manganui Gorge

transceiver, shovel, probe, and knowledge!

The 4 prerequisites for heading into the backcountry. The plan is to never have to use the first three in a real situation; knowledge gives you the best chance of that happening...

Current Snowpack Conditions

Recent Avalanche Activity

Mountain Weather





Feature Article

Avalanche danger on Mt. Taranaki

The recent event on 17 June (the same day Manganui Ski Area opened!) should have hit home on the unpredictable nature of snow and avalanches.

Two experienced climbers, accidentally set off the avalanche while climbing to the 2500-metre summit of Mt Taranaki on Sunday and were swept about 500m down the mountain in a torrent of ice and snow. They had been following a well- known route and were about to enter the crater when disaster struck*...

Although rare, this is, in the northern hemisphere in any case, typical of early season
avalanches; a weak snow/ground interface, cooler snow temps, a shallow fresh snow layer...this all conspires against those who venture off trail in the early season...rare, but surprising it doesn't happen more often on Mt. Taranaki.

The access track to Manganui Ski Area crosses “The Manganui Monster” avalanche gully at the head of the Manganui Gorge. It is not uncommon most seasons to have avalanche debris within the gully area, indicating regular avalanche activity in this Gorge. Visitors and the Public are strongly advised not to loiter in this area.

Warning Sign, circa 1980's

A requirement of Manganui’s Ski Area Safety Plan is for SMC to provide an Avalanche Advisory for the Ski Area and walking track access (by its nature the Avalanche Advisory is issued for the whole Mountain).
Manganui has 3 avalanche advisory signposts on the Round the Mountain Track that accesses the Ski Area. During the winter these will be updated as conditions change.

Manganui Ski Area will be closed if the Avalanche Advisory danger level is High or Extreme. It will remain closed until the danger level drops to Considerable or lower.

We encourage all Egmont National Park winter users become familiar with the Taranaki Avalanche Forecast - hey if anything it gives an insight to current mountain snowpack and weather conditions, and an advisory to which way they are trending...another resource to build your weather/snow data gathering from...

It also gives you info to think about the conditions if you do wander out of the ski area boundary or plan moving around the high alpine mountain environment. The info to help with route may just help you revise your plan and avoid a potential sticky situation, or worse! Like they say, the best way to survive an avalanche is never to be caught up in one.


If you would like to post a classified advert (buy/sell gear etc), please post it on the SMC  'Garage Sale' page of our website.



See you at the next snowfall!
SMC Management
© copyright 2007-2012 - Stratford Mountain Club