The Tongariro National Park was established in 1887 as New Zealand's first National Park after being gifted to the nation by Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV. The park was awarded dual World Heritage site status in 1990 to recognise the cultural and spiritual importance of the indigenous Maori, as well as the area's outstanding volcanic features. For tangata whenua (people of the land) the mountains are a vital part of their history. Their whakapapa (genealogy) and legends play an important role in the discussion around commercial usage of the surrounding area, including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the two commercial ski fields, Whakapapa and Turoa.
New Zealand's 11th National Park, the Whanganui National Park is rich in both Maori and European history and offers a wide array of attractions for all tastes. The Whanganui River winds its way from the mountains to the Tasman Sea through numerous hills and valleys of the National Park. The Whanganui National Park is an important historical and spiritual place, a sense of both you can strongly feel throughout the park.
As the central North Island connecting point between New Zealand's two major cities, Ruapehu has played an integral role in the shaping of our railway heritage.
With mineral rich volcanic soil and a climate boasting the full four seasons, Ruapehu is home to a vibrant market gardening industry. Market gardening first became an important industry in the Ruapehu region in 1925 and today continues to be a key earner for the region.