8 Aug 2012

Volcanic eruption evacuation plan worked well - hapu

10:15 am on 8 August 2012

A Ngati Tuwharetoa hapu says its evacuation plan, which was put into action following Monday night's Mt Tongariro eruption, worked successfully.

On Tuesday afternoon Civil Defence cancelled an official threat warning, saying activity on Tongariro since the eruption has subsided and no more ash was being produced.

More than 20 people who live near the mountain voluntarily evacuated their homes on Monday night and took shelter at Hirangi Marae in Turangi.

The marae comes under Te Runanganui o Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro.

Hapu representative Bub Smith says the plan worked well. He says the priority was to quickly move out young children, elderly people and sick people, including those with respiratory problems.

Mr Smith says the next task is to see if there's any part of the evacuation strategy that can be improved.

Meanwhile, the person charged with opening the doors to Hirangi Marae, Te Takinga New, says the pa was ready for evacuees about half an hour after the eruption, with beds already made up and a register set out for people to sign.

Mr New says kai was also a top priority. He says the local shop wasn't open so he and others at the marae began preparing kai from the staple food supplied at the pa, starting with cups of tea followed by pumpkin soup.