Tongariro National Park – Dual World Heritage Site
Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s first National Park, recognized as one of the 27 World Heritage Sites that are of both Outstanding Natural and Cultural Value. Gifted to the Crown by Te Heuheu IV, the park includes several sacred Maori sites and three active volcanoes, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.
The National Parks of New Zealand are 13 protected areas administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC) for the benefit, use and enjoyment of the public. Although the National Parks contain some of NZ’s most beautiful scenery, the first few established were all focused on mountain scenery. Since the 1980’s the focus has been on developing a more diverse representation of New Zealand landscapes. The parks are all culturally significant; many also contain historic features. Tongariro National Park, in particular, is one of the 27 World Heritage Sites that is of both Natural and Cultural significance, while four of the South Island National Parks, Westland Tai Poutini, Aoraki/Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Park form Te Wahipounamu, another World Heritage Site. A 14th national park, Te Urewera National Park, was disestablished in 2014.
National Parks are popular tourist destinations, with 30% of all overseas tourists visiting at least one during their stay in New Zealand.