Mahi Aroha – Central North Island Summer Programme

Department of Conservation —  06/01/2015

By Amelia Willis, Partnership Ranger, Taupō King Country

Ranger Amelia Willis holding a rainbow trout.

This is my first summer with DOC and, as a partnerships ranger in Taupō Tongariro, that means a busy January full of Mahi Aroha Summer Programme events.

The month long programme includes 20 different events, all aimed at giving you incredible experiences on conservation land, together with the chance to learn about the conservation work being done in the area.

New Year's Day kite flying at the Chateau.

New Year’s Day kite flying at the Chateau

Mahi Aroha: Explore, enjoy, experience, participate...

Although I grew up in Taupō, I have to confess I’d never heard of the Mahi Aroha Summer Programme, now in its 51st year.

However, after spending a lot of time out of New Zealand, the Programme is the perfect way for me to get reacquainted with my new/old backyard.


Number one on my list of events is the Waipakihi helihike in the beautiful Kaimanawa Forest Park—one of two helihikes in the Park.

A scenic helicopter flight into a remote valley? How many chances do you get to do that in everyday life?

Into the river on the Waipakihi helihike.

Into the river on the Waipakihi helihike

Geology with top volcanologist

I am also lucky enough to be assisting Dr Harry Keys on two geology based trips: Exploring the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park (today!) and looking at geothermal activity in Taupō.

Sunrise over Lake Rotopounamu.

Sunrise over Lake Rotopounamu

With only 20 places on each trip, and a personal tour with our top volcanologist on offer—I’m not surprised to see the bookings filling up fast.

Kaimanawa horses in the wild

And I’ll even get to see my first Kaimanawa horse in the wild! Not to mention getting to explore the expansive landscapes of the Waiouru Army training area.

Spotting Kaimanawa horses in the wild landscape of the Waiouru army training area.

The wild landscape of the Waiouru Army training area

From kite flying to caving, and everything in between, there is something for everyone in the Summer Programme. 

For event details and bookings: or phone 0800 362 925

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