Environmental Initiatives at Tongariro
Genesis Energy recognises that it is not appropriate to simply address the effects of its operation based on resource consent and mitigation requirements and are therefore striving to create a more holistic approach to our environmental management, whilst still maintaining our commitment to the local community.
The key environmental initiative at the Tongariro Power Scheme is the education programme at Tongariro National Trout Centre near Turangi.
Tongariro National Trout Centre
When we picture Taupo we imagine clear water, blue skies, green trees and glistening trout, but will it have this magic in fifty years time? Prime Taupo trout epitomise everything that is good about this environment. Studying the multi-million dollar fishery, the environment that sustains it and the challenges facing its management provides a fascinating insight into the world of utilising and sharing New Zealand’s natural resources in a sustainable way. Now this opportunity exists through 'Taupo For Tomorrow', an education programme at the Tongariro National Trout Centre.
In 2009 Genesis Energy extended the partnership agreement with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Tongariro National Trout Centre Society for a further five-year term, following the highly successful development of the programme between 2004 to 2008. The partnership is focused on educating young New Zealanders about the Taupo fishery and resource use and in 2008 alone over 3000 students from 61 schools participated in the programme on-site. A further 1500 users from around the country took part in the LEARNZ on-line virtual reality field trip. The programme is based at the Tongariro National Trout Centre, just south of Turangi on State Highway 1, which provides a unique setting amongst native bush alongside the Tongariro River.
Mike Nicholson is the educator developing and implementing the Taupo for Tomorrow education programme. Mike has come from a teaching and outdoors background and is very enthusiastic about his role. Mike has developed a programme to meet the objectives of the New Zealand curriculum and seeks to:
- Raise awareness of the importance of protecting fresh water habitat
- Develop a better understanding of how natural resources are shared while protecting their quality and sustainability
- Examine DOC’s work in management of the Taupo fishery and the issues of human impacts; and
- Promote angling as a recreational activity.
Learning outside the classroom provides students with ‘real-life’, hands-on opportunities and case studies where they can discover new information and apply their classroom knowledge. For example, social science students can use the Tongariro Power Scheme as a case study for understanding how and why a resource must be managed and how competition for resources can be balanced. There are several learning options available to visiting school groups, depending on the age group, objectives and time constraints.
The Whakapumatanga Downs Learning Centre was opened in 2006. The centre is named after the late Whakapumautanga ‘Darkie" Downs in memory of his sterling work with conservation and his people, Ngati Tuwharetoa.
Genesis Energy is also proud to support several new developments at the Trout Centre over the next 5 years. These include extensions to the visitors centre, a fresh water aquarium and, in future, a blue duck breeding facility. These will further enhance the visitor experience and provide educational opportunities for Taupo for Tomorrow students.
For more information about the education programme and bookings please contact:
Taupo Fishery Area Educator
Department of Conservation
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - 07 3869246
Fax - 07 3867086