Ruapehu is an incredible winter playground, and as mountain users prepare for the 2020 season a revised set of hazard posters will help them know how to keep themselves safe on the volcano.

The key message remains the same: Ruapehu is an active volcano, and if you see an eruption, or hear the siren warning system, move out of valleys immediately to higher ground.

Revised hazard posters for Whakapapa and Tūroa will communicate to visitors which volcanic hazards are possible – particularly near the summit Crater Lake (Te Wai ā-moe), which is the active volcanic vent.

The volcanic hazard posters have been prepared by Department of Conservation, GNS Science and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, in partnership with the University of Canterbury and University of Auckland, and are displayed at key points around the ski areas and are available online.

The volcanic hazard posters show the potential hazard zones for a moderate, explosive eruption from Crater Lake (Te Wai ā-moe), including lahars (volcanic mudflows), flying rocks and ballistics, and fast-moving currents of steam and hot ash.

The summit hazard zone is depicted by a gradational three-kilometre zone from Crater Lake (Te Wai ā-moe), which has been extended from previous maps and is now consistent across the Tongariro National Park.

“The further you are away from the crater, the safer you will be. We know that the closer you are to a hazard, the higher the risk,” Graham Leonard, GNS Science Volcanic Geologist says.

“Volcanologists are continually learning more about the way the National Park volcanoes work and the way they might erupt, and the posters are a way to communicate these updates and emergency response guidelines.”

The revised posters include the latest research and information from the New Zealand volcanology community, presenting clearer and easier to understand information for people visiting the ski areas.

“The refreshed posters help to explain what we understand about eruption hazards and the possible impacts on the ski areas. Eruptions can be sudden, without warning – and a lahar can travel through the ski area within minutes,” Theo Chapman, Department of Conservation Senior Ranger – Public Safety, says.

“The revised posters detail specific protective actions to be taken in different places on the mountain if there is an eruption.

“When you head up the mountain, be sure to check out the posters that are displayed in prominent public areas and take a minute to educate you and your group on what you’d do in the event of an eruption.”

Every winter, thousands of people visit Mt Ruapehu to enjoy the alpine environment it provides.

Whether visiting to take in the alpine views, play in the snow, ride the Sky Waka or enjoy skiing or climbing – we want visitors to have access to the best information to keep themselves safe this winter.