Joint press release from Ngāti Rangi, Uenuku and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) has been granted a new license to operate Mt Ruapehu's Tūroa, New Zealand’s second largest ski area.
RAL chief executive Ross Copland says, "We're absolutely thrilled to reach this historic agreement together with Ngāti Rangi, Uenuku and the Department of Conservation. To have security of tenure is of huge significance to the company. With less than five years to run on the existing licence, it was essential that we reached this agreement to allow us to invest, ensuring that Tūroa continues to anchor the winter economy of Ohakune and the wider Ruapehu region."
The licence has an initial term of 25 years plus seven five-year extensions totalling 60 years. Iwi have significant influence over the granting of licence extensions which occur at 5-yearly intervals ensuring a partnership approach to management of the ski areas by virtue of governance-level relationship groups which meet regularly to discuss major projects, set objectives and monitor performance against agreed KPI’s.
Approved by the Department of Conservation, this innovative approach to re-licencing was first developed by former RAL chief executive Dave Mazey as part of the Whakapapa application and further developed for the Tūroa license in conjunction with Ruapehu’s Southern Iwi partners Uenuku and Ngāti Rangi.
Ngāti Rangi Chair Shar Amner, and Uenuku Chair Aiden Gilbert says they are both looking forward to working with RAL in line with their Relationship Agreements. “Our priority is to further establish agreed key initiatives and performance measures that not only protect but, continue to enhance the health and wellbeing of Koro Ruapehu”.
The new licence includes protection of the peaks, waterways and their sources. Both Iwi Chairs agree that upholding their cultural values has been paramount to discussions. “This was to ensure we are all able to continue to enjoy the magnificence and uniqueness Koro offers us”.
RAL Chairman Murray Gribben said "RAL has a very long term view of its role in the community and if not managed appropriately, the impact ski area operations can have on the maunga. We respect the longevity of our relationships with Iwi and the wider community and iwi have set a very high benchmark for our operations."