Sky Waka Gondola
2019 is set to be a historic season with the all new Sky Waka Gondola at Whakapapa. Currently under construction.

Sky Waka

The Story

The waka, celebrated by name in song and story by Māori poets and orators, we know it to be more than a voyaging canoe, more than a carrier of people – the waka carries family. All Māori, after all, have lineal ties with the chiefs of the great waka.

As the highest and longest gondola upon Te Ika a Maui, this is more than a machine. It is a vessel to bring people together, to elevate them, together, upon this great maunga. It is a thread, weaving earth and sky.

We celebrate the waka and its symbolism of interconnectedness between the past with the present and future. For this is surely a symbol of the future,ascending this ancient mountain.

Sky Waka is currently under construction at Whakapapa with the opening date to be announced.

8 June

Sky Waka Gondola cable in place

Another major milestone has been reached in the construction of Mt Ruapehu’s Sky Waka Gondola.

The cable that the cabins sit on, has been spliced and is now in place. The splice is the process of weaving the ends of the cable together once the cable is at the right length.

Read more in full release.


24 May

Video update from Steve at the Sky Waka drive station. Currently pulling the cable line which weighs 48,000kgs up to Knoll Ridge and back down using the drive station.


16 May

Along with the wind and the rain, the haul rope has arrived! The crew are preparing to run the rope in the coming week. Due to the weight of the rope, this will happen in three stages with two smaller gauge pilot ropes required in the process. All towers for the Sky Waka are now in place with towers 11 & 7 installed this past week. The material ropeway that has been instrumental in the construction of the gondola is due to be disassembled next week.


9 May

Drive Station

Rapid progress is being made on the Sky Waka gondola with the Leitner componentry installation at the drive station. We are excited to share this progress with you and will have another update for you next week.


7 May

Sky Waka Opening Date Update

The target date for our sightseeing product on the Sky Waka was 1 June. Unfortunately, that isn't going to be possible and the target date for the gondola is in line with the expected opening date of the upper mountain towards the end of June, our normal Whakapapa season opening date. Happy Valley will be open 1 June and we will keep you updated.


5 May Photos

Drive station taking shape

The drive station at the top of Bruce Road is now taking shape with the installation of the bullwheel.


24 April

Return station and towers update

The Leitner componentry has been completed at the return station and the crew are now filling out the structure, which will fully enclose the return station once complete. Tower 14 was installed today with crossheads for towers 12 & 13 lined up ready for installation. Tower 11, the most challenging geological site for our towers, is prepared and ready for its foundation pour.


10 April

Here's another video update from Steve at the Sky Waka return station.

Our Sponsors