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History of Project Tongariro
Tongariro Natural History Society (aka Project Tongariro) came into being as a result of a 1982 helicopter crash in Tongariro National Park in which four park staff died. In the early years Project Tongariro (PT) focused on producing and selling publications as a way to build a funding base. This was successful allowing the organisation to contribute to Tongariro National Park (TNP) in a variety of ways including volunteering, conservation projects, interpretation and education. For more than 25 years PT has funded annual research grants (Memorial Awards). From the outset, PT has worked with the Department Of Conservation to prioritise projects and at times assisted them with funding. This relationship is based on an enduring Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations. PT continues to work DOC on a number of conservation projects including wetland and forest restoration and recreation events such as the annual Mahi Aroha summer programme as well as the PT annual student biodiversity internship programme. PT has seven major biodiversity projects underway with a focus on wetland, forest and riparian restoration in and around TNP as well as three urban restoration projects based in Taupo. These include Mt Pihanga - Lake Rotopounamu Forest restoration (northern part of TNP), Te Matapuna Wetlands restoration (southern Lake Taupo shores), Greening Taupo (urban restoration), Kids Greening Taupo (educational arm of Greening Taupo) and Predator Free Taupo. The Taupo projects are run out of Taupo with their own branding and coordinators. The organisation's strengths are in its people and their connection and drive to care and carry out outdoor activities in the region. PT is a not-for-profit organisation that that is governed by a volunteer Executive Board and works in an area that is internationally recognised for its environmental, landscape and recreational values.