Taupō Civil Defence team, NZ Transport Agency, the Department of Conservation and GNS are being sensibly proactive should Mt Tongariro have another eruption. The agencies have placed signs stating: “volcanic hazard, no stopping” at key areas on State Highway 46.
GNS Science volcanologists, who are working with the agencies to monitor the mountain and seismic activity, have indicated that there is some debris flow that is heading toward State Highway 46. The heavy rains predicted on Sunday may speed up the flow which may push past the road and cause damage outside the park.
Taupō Emergency Manager Phil Parker says people should chat to their families and have a plan in place. ”If anything changes, we are working cooperatively to inform the public as quickly as possible. At this stage it’s our best judgement call. But we have to be cautious for the sake of public safety.”
The agencies are working collaboratively to prepare for any increased risk of debris flow further levels of eruption. They continue to encourage people to remain calm but are hoping to discourage them from stopping to have a look.
State Highways 1 and 46 were closed overnight as a precautionary measure following a small eruption on Mount Tongariro at approximately 11.50pm on Monday 6 August. They were subsequently reopened soon after. The eruption came after three to four weeks of unrest at the volcano. It was a steam-driven eruption, which meant no new molten material had come to the surface.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing remains closed until further notice. Ski fields on Ruapehu, Turoa and Whakapapa were unaffected and remain open.