16 Jan 2014

Aoraki/Mount Cook drops 30 metres

6:54 pm on 16 January 2014

Thirty metres is to be shaved off the official height of Aoraki/Mount Cook - the country's highest peak.

The mountain was last surveyed in 1991 after a massive avalanche reduced it to 3754 metres.

A thick icecap remained, but Otago University researchers say that's eroded in the past 20 years and the correct height is now 3724 metres.

Geography lecturer Nicolas Cullen, who led an expedition to the peak in November, said the difference is not due to climate change.

"At that high elevation a lot of snow and ice can get moved around fairly quickly and I think it's more than likely just the icecap being eroded, by primarily wind."

Mr Cullen said Land Information has been told about the new height and official maps and documents will need to be changed.