Camps go on without Tongariro trip

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 15:01 22/11/2012

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Year 10 camps on the Central Plateau planned by Palmerston North Boys' High School will go ahead next week following yesterday's eruption of Tongariro.

However activities planned on the slopes of Tongariro, and nearby Ruapehu have been cancelled.

Year 10 students are next attending camps around the lower and central North Island. About 100 students are scheduled to attend one of four camps on the Central Plateau.

''The priority was the safety of the young men who were going up there,'' Boys' High rector David Bovey said.

Each camp was scheduled to do the Tongariro Crossing or another activity on one of the two mountains next week.

School staff were today planning alternate activities for the groups to do on those days.

Mr Bovey said with GNS saying eruptions at both Ruapehu and Tongariro were possible in the coming weeks the school was not going to take any unnecessary risks.

''When you're talking about nature, it's unpredictability means that things like this could happen.''

Yesterday's eruption at Te Maari crater, on the mountain's north-west side, about 1.30pm, sent a 2km-high ash plume into the sky.

A group of 90 students, six parents and four teachers from Tamatea Intermediate were on Tongariro when it erupted yesterday.

''Some panicked, some didn't. Everyone came down safely and it was great,'' teacher Lomi Schaumkel said.

Department of Conservation area manager Jonathan Maxwell said the Tongariro Crossing track had been closed until further notice.

Scientists have since warned further eruptions at Mt Tongariro may continue for months, if not years.

Yesterday's eruption was the second this year after Tongariro erupted in August - the first time in more than 100 years.

Known eruptions at Tongariro occurred in 1869 and intermittently in the years between 1886 and 1897.

Research based on volcanic events around the world showed that eruptions usually came in a series, GNS vulcanologist Brad Scott said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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