Tongariro turns up the heat

01:01, Nov 29 2012
SO SMOKY: Year 8 students Cupid Rhind, Mireia Muller-Pallares and Rachel Lee of Gulf Harbour School are near Te Maari crater when it erupts.

So smoky: Year 8 students Cupid Rhind, Mireia Muller-Pallares and Rachel Lee of Gulf Harbour School are near Te Maari crater just after last Wednesday's eruption.

Tree adventure: Aria Morehu, Navana McLachlan and Caleb Gray of Kaukapakapa School prepare for a flying fox run at Woodhill Forest's Tree Adventures.

Christmas carols: Warkworth School children practise their Christmas cheer for the Carols by Candlelight on December 7.

Volleyball victory: Orewa College's junior girls win the Auckland volleyball championships for their age group in November. They are the first North Harbour school to be named Auckland volleyball champions. The junior girls volleyball team are pictured with coach Mark Quigley.

Visit and click on Latest Edition for videos of Mt Tongariro's eruption captured by Gulf Harbour School student Mireia Muller-Pallares.

Seeing Mt Tongariro's eruption close up last Wednesday will give Gulf Harbour School children something talk about for a long time.


Smoke billowed out of Te Maari crater as 20 of the school's 12 and 13-year-olds and 10 adults were descending the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing trek during a week's camp at Tongariro National Park.

Student Mireia Muller-Pallares, 13, says it was an unforgettable experience.

"I was with one of the parents on our team when he said ‘look at that', and pointed to the smoke rising," she says.

"It was smoky, with lots of ashes when it erupted. After awhile it got quite black, and there was constant steam coming up from the crater."

Her first reaction when the volcano erupted was disbelief. "It didn't sink in then the volcano had erupted, and when it was over I found myself crying a little bit from the shock.

"Then my friends gave me hugs, and we agreed this was an amazing camp."

Mireia says principal John Petrie kept the group calm.

See the eruption. Go to

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Flying foxes and interviews with Prime Minister John Key were highlights of Kaukapakapa School's camp.

The camp was split in four age groups.

A 25-minute chat with Helensville MP Mr Key at Parliament was on the Wellington itinerary for year 7 and 8 classes.

"They also rode on the cable car, went to the Carter Observatory, Te Papa museum, visited the New Zealand police launch, and caught a movie at the Embassy Theatre," teacher Caroline Armstrong says.

Making 3D games at Capital E, along with watching police dogs train ended a memorable four-day trip which included stops in Taupo and at the National Army Museum in Waiouru.

Year 2 and 3 students had an overnight camp at Arataki in the Waitakere Ranges, where they learned about native plants, went on a night hike, pitched tents and cooked over a fire.

"Houghton's Bush camp at Muriwai Beach was the destination for our year 4 and 5s," Ms Armstrong says.

"As well as some great cultural sites and ecological encounters they spent a great day hanging around on rope courses at Woodhill's Tree Adventures."

At Little Huia, year 6 students went canoeing and abseiling and learned archery.

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A session of Christmas carols by candlelight is at Lucy Moore Park in Warkworth on December 7, from 7.30pm to 9pm. The evening features Warkworth, Snells Beach, and Mahurangi Christian schools in a massed choir, joined by Rodney MP Lockwood Smith and wife Alexandra, and the Warkworth Brass Band. Warkworth singer Jenny Eirena will also lead a small choir from Mahurangi College.

The free event is sponsored by the Warkworth Rotary Club.

Rodney Times