Mt Ngauruhoe is one of the most striking features in the Tongariro National Park with an almost perfect cone rising to 2287m. Many people come just to climb this mountain and others will include the scramble to the summit as part of their Tongariro Alpine Crossing experience. You can engage a local guide for a sunrise experience, well worth it for a unique experience.
The first European climber was J. C. Bidwill in March 1839, and he reported “The crater was the most terrific abyss I ever looked into or imagined … it was not possible to see above 10 yards into it from the quantity of steam which it was continually discharging”. You can understand why Peter Jackson used Mt Ngauruhoe as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Ring movies.
Maori regard all the peaks of the Tongariro National Park as highly tapu (a Maori spiritual and social code that was central to traditional society, is about sanctity and respect for people, natural resources and the environment) Eruptions from Mt Ngauruhoe were regarded by the Maori as a sign of war.
According to Maori legend the name Ngauruhoe – the peak of Uruhoe –commemorates the slave whom Ngatoroirangi, archpriest of Arawa canoe, sacrificed in order to add mana to his plea for fire to be sent from Hawaiki. When this arrived, Uruhoe’s body was flung into the crater that bears his name.