New Zealand Landscape Photography Artwork by Stephen Milner
Mount Tongariro is located in Tongariro National Park, which is a UNESCO word heritage site. This location is amazing and I have visited it many times. It is unique landscape for New Zealand because it's an alpine environment that is surrounded by a scoria desert, shrubs and thick bush. It is a location that is often covered with cloud or fog, and the volcano cannot be seen. I remember hiking for three hours to 1,725m to visit this location. I remember that arrived at my location one hour before sunrise and it was cold. I put on every jacket I had with me, a hat and gloves to keep warm whilst I waited for sunrise. Just before sunrise, there was a tick fog that rolled in and blocked my view of Mount Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. However, at sunrise the fog disappeared and I was blown away with the light and views in front of me. I quickly loaded some Fuji Provia 100 into my Mamiya 6MF to photograph the beautiful alpine volcanic views in front of me. I didn't have much time to find many composition but I was happy with what I found. It was an experience that I will never forget.
Mount Tongariro is a massive complex of volcanic cones that have erupted from many vents over the last 275,000 years. Mount Ngauruhoe is part of this complex. Its complexity earned its name as the title for an expansive volcanic area known as Tongariro National Park given by the Maori chief Te Heuheu in 1887. It is made of layers from lava flows and pyroclastic deposits. Three craters have been filled with rainwater to create the blue lake and the emerald lakes. It is part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, where the earth’s crust has been stretched and thinned. Recent eruptions are 1869, 1886, 1893, 1897, 1977 and 2012.
Maori legends speak of Mount Taranaki (previously known as Pukeonaki) as standing closer to other North Island volcanos called Ruapehu, Tongariro and Pihanga in Tongariro Nation Park. Pukeonaki was married to Ruapehu. Whilst Pukeonaki was away hunting, Ruapehu was wooed by the masculine Tongariro. When Pukeonaki returned, he and Tongariro fought over Ruapehu. But, Tongariro was the strongest and defeated Pukeonaki. Pukeonaki fled west to the west coast, carved the Whanganui River on the way, and found new love with the Pouākai range.
Maori legends speak of Tongariro as the belly of a giant fish that Maui caught when fishing with his brothers. Despite disbelief from his brothers, Maui surprised his brothers as he landed an enormous fish and became the best fisherman. The brothers carved mountains and gullies out of the fish. The remains of this fish are said to be from the North Island of New Zealand.
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