Trampoline trip raises eyebrows

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 09:56 18/01/2013
Mt Taranaki trampoline

JUMP FOR JOY: Simon Chadwick gets some air time on an Olympic-sized trampoline which a group of friends carried to the top of the Pouakai Range on Saturday.

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A group of trampolining trampers have found themselves in hot water with Mt Taranaki guardians for the second time in as many years.

Both Taranaki iwi and the Department of Conservation are disappointed a party of trampers assembled a trampoline on the Pouakai Plateau, given the same group was told off in 2011 for having a barbecue on the summit of Mt Taranaki.

In Maori culture the head of important mountains is regarded as tapu or sacred.

On Saturday a group of 17 friends assembled a 140 kilogram Olympic-sized trampoline at the summit of the Pouakai Range for a day.

The "tramp tramp" was the brainchild of 23-year-old New Plymouth man Caleb Millen.

Taranaki Iwi Trust general manager Liana Poutu said the fact that the same group had gone ahead with the "tramp tramp" without contacting iwi or DOC was disappointing.

"Given the insensitivity around the barbecue incident, and it's the same people, it's really disappointing that they've done something like this again and they didn't come to us before they did it," Ms Poutu said.

The Pouakai Range was a culturally sensitive site because it was a maunga (mountain) in its own right - as was the Kaitake Range, she said.

Taranaki Iwi Trust would prefer to be notified if potentially culturally insensitive activities were carried out in the park, she said.

"They obviously haven't learnt anything from the last episode."

Mr Millen said they checked the Pouakai tracks fact sheet and saw no information about prohibited activities.

"So we assumed, obviously somewhat wrongly, it wouldn't be an issue," Mr Millen said.

He said the group thought it would not be offensive because they were on the Pouakai Plateau not the Pouakai summit.

"We obviously thought that this was a huge step down in terms of possibly being offensive."

The group were careful not to disturb the environment and removed broken glass they found when they left the Pouakai Plateau, he said. What was of greater concern was people drinking alcohol and littering on the Pouakai Range.

Department of Conservation Taranaki spokeswoman Kay Davies said the group should have consulted the necessary parties before embarking on the "tramp tramp".

"Just like last time we would really encourage them to come in and talk about it," Ms Davies said.

If anyone was thinking of doing anything out of the ordinary in Egmont National Park DOC would like to be notified first, she said.

"Then we can go through any potential conflicts there might be."

On Sunday a French paraglider launched himself from the summit of Mt Taranaki and crash-landed at the North Egmont visitor centre. Ms Poutu said without knowing the exact details of the paraglider incident she couldn't say whether it was culturally appropriate or not.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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