The eight iwi of the Taranaki region have placed a rahui on all access routes to the summit of Taranaki maunga following the fatalities of two climbers.
The rāhui will be in place for one week, then all eight iwi of the region (Taranaki iwi, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Maru, Ngāruahine, Ngā Rauru Kiitahi, Ngāti Ruanui) will review the situation.
A rāhui (physical and spiritual protection mechanism) sets a temporary prohibition around the area and limits access for a period of time in order to acknowledge the deaths and to express sympathy to the whānau of the deceased.
As a sign of respect, all visitors to the maunga are asked to use alternative tracks, and not access the summit during the rāhui.
Recovery of the bodies
Due to the conditions encountered on Taranaki maunga today, emergency teams deployed to recover the bodies of the two climbers were unsuccessful.
All Police and Alpine Cliff Rescue personnel have been called off the mountain for the night. And the recovery operation is expected to recommence tomorrow morning.
The recovery operation was initiated last night when police were notified just before 10pm that a climber had fallen near the summit of Taranaki maunga.
The search and rescue operation included emergency services, alpine and Department of Conservation staff as well as a Taranaki Rescue helicopter.
Police located the bodies of the two climbers just after midnight.
Due to the weather and light conditions, the bodies could not be recovered at the time.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has ceased all its work on the maunga while the bodies of the two deceased climbers are retrieved.
DOC’s two visitor centres on the maunga will remain open to share information with the public.
Enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are ongoing.
Police will not be releasing the names of the two climbers at this time.