Friday, 19 July 2013

Mount Cook/Aoraki National Park

The National Parks Act was introduced in 1950 and the Department of Conservation Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park was established 60 years ago - this region is a significant area of skill testing for accomplished climbers, including Sir Edmund Hillary who made the historical first ascent of Everest the same year the park was formalized. The park's alpine environment includes 19 peaks, its namesake as well as Mount Tasman which are two of the highest mountains in New Zealand.

Ref: 35-R2239, View from Lake Pukaki towards Mount Cook, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Ref: AWNS-19371215-47-1, A view of Mount Tasman, 1937, Sir George Grey Special  Collections
Part of the park's unique beauty is the abundance of alpine plants, particularly the mountain flowers such as the magnificent buttercups and daisies.

Ref: AWNS-19271215-44-2, Admiring a bouquet of mountain flowers, 1927, Sir George Grey Special Collections
A significant amount of the park's  history is connected to to the mountaineering expeditions and personal accounts of climbing in the Southern Alps.  Auckland Libraries holds in its collection a substantial number of publications on the subject including Graham Langton's Armchair Mountaineering, a bibliography of New Zealand mountain climbing. This excellent resource can also be accessed online from the New Zealand Alpine Club website.

Author: Karen Samsom, Central Auckland Research Centre

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