Guide backing trampolining trampers

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 11:18 21/01/2013
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.

tdn tramp stand
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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Veteran Mt Taranaki guide Ian McAlpine is defending a group of trampers who assembled a trampoline on the Pouakai Plateau, saying more education about Egmont National Park protocol is needed.

And an online poll has also given the trampers substantial support.

Last week the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Taranaki Iwi Trust expressed disappointment that a group of trampers assembled a 140-kilogram trampoline on the Pouakai Plateau last Saturday.

In 2011 the same group were told off for having a barbecue on the summit of Mt Taranaki.

McAlpine, who runs Mt Taranaki Guided Tours and has 40 years of experience trekking Egmont National Park, said he supported the trampolining trampers.

He said DOC and the Taranaki Iwi Trust needed to be more proactive in educating the public about what is acceptable behaviour in the park.

"I think both the Department of Conservation and the Taranaki Iwi Trust once again need to get a life and get on and do their real jobs," McAlpine said.

"They need to get out and educate people."

In a taranakidailynews.co.nz poll, 85 per cent of 1000 votes supported the idea that the trampers were only having a bit of fun, with 15 per cent believing they were being disrespectful.

Taranaki Iwi Trust general manager Liana Poutu reiterated her earlier comments that there were known cultural sensitivities relating to Egmont National Park.

"Had they come to us we could have discussed those," Poutu said.

The trampoline trampers had previously been warned about cultural sensitivity in 2011 and chose not to make contact with iwi or DOC despite planning the "tramp tramp" for a year.

"They've certainly had plenty of time and plenty of opportunities to make contact," Poutu said.

McAlpine said incidents such as the "tramp tramp" would only become more common with an increasing number of people using Egmont National Park.

"Egmont National Park has just woken up in the past 10 years," he said.

There was always going to be people wanting to do something different in the park, he said.

"Where do you draw the line of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate?"

McAlpine said since being granted a DOC guide concession in 1993 he had been invited to only one meeting with Taranaki iwi.

"If you educate us, we can educate the people."

The group of trampoline trampers were adventurous people who were enjoying the park and being respectful to the environment, he said.

"They actually leave nothing but footprints."

He said he would not be surprised if the group were already planning their next wacky adventure in the park.

"I've got no doubt that they're dreaming up another activity."

McAlpine said where trampers went to the toilet was a much more serious issue that DOC and iwi should focus on.

"As far as I'm concerned DOC and iwi have far bigger issues to deal with than a trampoline."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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