22 Nov 2012

Safety of manuhiri a priority for iwi

6:43 am on 22 November 2012

A Tongariro hapu says it is more focussed on the safety of manuhiri (visitors) on the mountain than the tangata whenua who live nearby.

The mountain erupted on Wednesday afternoon, sending out huge clouds of ash and steam.

Te Runanganui o Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro spokesperson Te Ngaehe Wanikau says the eruption brings goose bumps and pride to people who live nearby, because it shows the maunga is still alive.

He says it's no concern for them, but it is for people visiting the area and their main priority is to make sure they are well and okay.

Ngati Tuwharetoa is working with the Department of Conservation and other parties on safety precautions. A rahui (restriction) is in place at the mountain's peak.