Creators and Destroyers
The history and breathtaking landscape of New Zealand’s first national park, Tongariro (which dominates the middle of the North Island) is subject to an in-depth analysis by travel writer Mel White and photographer Stuart Franklin, in the July issue of National Geographic. White is mesmerised by the three peaks that dominate the landscape – Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe – and in particular the conical beauty of Ngauruhoe: “The mountain lacks only a few streaks of vivid red crayon above it to be every child’s drawing of the archetypal volcano,” she writes. But co-existing with Tongariro’s beauty are serious conservation and cultural issues. “Bird-eating stoats, parking-lot construction, profound spiritual and cultural values – all these issues crowd the desks of DOC managers. And one more: Theoretically at least, the park could blow itself to smithereens at any moment.” Stuart Franklin’s photographs complement White’s words, capturing the intense beauty of the region that has been named a World Heritage site twice, both for its physical features and, later, for its cultural importance.