Celebrating 100 Years of the U.S. National Parks Service with New Zealand Friends at Tongariro

The walking Group. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Embassy, Wellington

Tongariro, New Zealand’s oldest National Park, has been chosen as the site for a celebration to mark a century of U.S. National Parks.

“National Parks engage communities through recreation, conservation, historic and cultural preservation. They highlight values we share with the people of New Zealand,” says U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert.

On March 2, 2016, U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert  joined by Lou Sanson, Director-General of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, DOC and Embassy staff, kaumatua and members of the local hapū Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro of Ngāti Tūwharetoa iwi, to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossings.

Photo from the track. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

Ambassador Gilbert said, “It is no surprise America’s National Parks are often referred to as ‘America’s Best Idea.’ The 2016 National Park centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks. Every year thousands of Kiwis visit U.S. National Parks and Public Lands because of their beauty, diversity, and history. The U.S. Embassy is working closely with the National Parks Service and New Zealand’s Department of Conservation to spread the word about the amazing places they manage. There are so many inspirational stories associated with both our nations’ parks. They are beautiful natural resources and we need to protect them, and our diverse cultural heritage.”

Ambassador and Nancy Gilbert with DOC Director-General Lou Sanson on the Tongariro Crossing.
Ambassador and Nancy Gilbert with DOC Director-General Lou Sanson on the Tongariro Crossing.

“This is the perfect place to launch this celebration,” says DOC Director-General Lou Sanson. “And we are looking at other ways we can partner to promote the benefits of connecting to nature, getting outdoors, and looking after our natural spaces.”

More photos of the hike are located on FlickR and Facebook.

The halfway point. Photo credit: U.S. State Department.
The halfway point. Photo credit: U.S. State Department.
Nanch and Ambassador Gilbert with a local Iwi group who hiked and explained the history of the Tongariro National Park.
Nancy and Ambassador Gilbert with a local Iwi group who hiked and explained the history of the Tongariro National Park.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
The stunning scenery during the hike. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.