A Playboy model has upset Hindus after she posed naked on sacred Mount Taranaki. Hindus are urging New Zealand government to offer effective protection to indigenous Maori sacred sites and make sure those were not disrespected in the future.
Jaylene Cook posted her photo to her 295,000 Instagram followers just wearing trainers, gloves and a hat as she admired the view on the top of Mount Taranaki.
Her boyfriend took the photograph for her. She commented: “This climb has forever changed me. I proved just how far I could push myself and I am truly proud of my accomplishment.”
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Mount Taranaki was of enormous spiritual significance to Maori people and its inappropriate usage for any other agendas was not okay as it might be hurtful to the believers.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged New Zealand government and involved Playboy Playmate glamour model Jaylene Cook to immediately offer a formal public apology to the Maori community and the world’s faithful.
World and New Zealand should respect the centuries old Maori religion-spirituality-traditions-concepts, which should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed indicated.
Zed termed this nude photo shoot on Mount Taranaki as “highly inappropriate” and added that faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it could be disturbing to the faithful.
Moreover, the Maori community should be offered an effective role in the decision making authority of Mount Taranaki and they should be the ones to finally decide whether to allow public climbers on it or not and what should be okay/allowed on the mountain, Rajan Zed noted.
New Zealand Government Department of Conservation site states—Mt Taranaki has great spiritual significance to local Maori: the crater and summit is the sacred head of Taranaki, the rocks and ridge are his bones, rivers his blood and plants and trees are his cloak and offer protection from the weather. Respect the mountain. Do not stand directly on the summit stone.
According to New Zealand Government’s “Te Ara—The Encyclopedia of New Zealand”—“For the Māori of the Taranaki region, Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) was a sacred place which they dared not climb.”
Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont, is an active but quiescent stratovolcano in the Taranaki region on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. Although the mountain is more commonly referred to as Taranaki, it has two official names under the alternative names policy of the New Zealand Geographic Board.
The 2,518 metres (8,261 ft) mountain is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. There is a secondary cone, Fanthams Peak , 1,966 metres (6,450 ft), on the south side. Because of its resemblance to Mount Fuji, Taranaki provided the backdrop for the movie The Last Samurai.
According to Māori mythology,Taranaki once resided in the middle of the North Island, with all the other New Zealand volcanoes. The beautiful Pihanga was coveted by all the mountains, and a great battle broke out between them. Tongariro eventually won the day,inflicted great wounds on the side of Taranaki, and causing him to flee.
Taranaki headed westwards, following Te Toka a Rahotu (the Rock of Rahotu) and forming the deep gorges of the Whanganui River,paused for a while, creating the depression that formed the Te Ngaere swamp, then heading north. Further progress was blocked by the Pouakai ranges, and as the sun came up Taranaki became petrified in his current location.
When Taranaki conceals himself with rainclouds, he is said to be crying for his lost love, and during spectacular sunsets, he is said to be displaying himself to her. In turn, Tongariro's eruptions are said to be a warning to Taranaki not to return.
In 1881, a circular area with a radius of six miles (9.6 km) from the summit was protected as a Forest Reserve. Areas encompassing the older volcanic remnants of Pouakai and Kaitake were later added to the reserve and in 1900 all this land was gazetted as Egmont National Park, the second national park in New Zealand.
With intensively-farmed dairy pasture reaching right up to the mostly-circular park boundary, the change in vegetation is sharply delineated in satellite images. There are parts of the national Park where old growth forests are found.
The Stratford Mountain Club operates the Manganui skifield on the eastern slope. Equipment access to the skifield is by flying fox across the Manganui Gorge.
The Taranaki Alpine Club maintains Tahurangi Lodge on the north slope of the mountain, just next to the television tower. The lodge is frequently used as the base for public climbs to the summit held in the summer months. The various climbing and tramping clubs organize these public events and provide informal guides.
For the average person, Taranaki would be considered a moderate mountain to climb. It takes a person with good fitness level a day to make the up-and-back climb. Weather on the mountain can change rapidly, which has caught inexperienced trampers and climbers unawares.
As of 6 June 2016, 83 people had died on the mountain since records began in 1891, many having been caught by a sudden change in the weather.In terms of fatalities this mountain is the second most dangerous mountain in New Zealand after Aoraki / Mount Cook.
There are three roads leading part-way up the mountain. The highest is to East Egmont plateau, with a viewing platform and parking facilities for the skifield. It lies at the transition between subalpine scrub and alpine herbfields.
There are park visitor centres at North Egmont and at Dawson Falls on the southeast side.
The eastern side from Stratford leads to the Stratford Mountain House, and the ski field.
There is no road access on the western side. However, a road winds for 10 km through native bush over the saddle between Pouakai and Kaitake. Near the top of this road is the renowned Pukeiti Trust rhododendron garden.
Taranaki is geologically young, having commenced activity approximately 135,000 years ago. The most recent volcanic activity was the production of a lava dome in the crater and its collapse down the side of the mountain in the 1850s or 1860s.
Between 1755 and 1800, an eruption sent a pyroclastic flow down the mountain's northeast flanks,and a moderate ash eruption occurred about 1755, of the size of Ruapehu's activity in 1995/1996. The last major eruption occurred around 1655.
Recent research has shown that over the last 9,000 years minor eruptions have occurred roughly every 90 years on average, with major eruptions every 500 years.
Taranaki is unusual in that it has experienced at least five of its major eruptions by the method of cone collapse. Few volcanoes have undergone more than one cone collapse. The vast volume of material involved in these collapses is reflected in the extensive ringplain surrounding the volcano. There is also evidence of lahars being a common result of eruption.
Much of the region is at risk from lahars, which have reached as far as the coast. A volcanic event is not necessary for a lahar: even earthquakes combined with heavy rain or snow could dislodge vast quantities of unstable layers resting on steep slopes. Many farmers live in the paths of such possible destructive events.
Although volcanic eruptions are notoriously chaotic in their frequency, some scientists warn that a large eruption is "overdue". Research from Massey University indicates that significant seismic activity is likely again in the next 50 years.
Prevailing winds would probably blow ash east, covering much of the North Island, and disrupting air routes, power transmission lines and local water supplies.
Taranaki sits on the remains of three older volcanic complexes that lie to the northwest. The Indo-Australian Plate is slowly moving relative to the magma source that feeds these volcanoes. This trend is reflected in Fanthams Peak, the newer secondary cone on the southeast side of Taranaki.
The oldest volcanic remnants consist of a series of lava plugs: Paritutu rock (156m), which forms part of New Plymouth's harbour, and the Sugar Loaf Islands close offshore. These have been dated at 1.75 million years.
On the coast 15 km southwest of New Plymouth is the Kaitake range (rising to 682m), last active approximately 500,000 years ago.
Nearest to Taranaki is the Pouakai complex. Pouakai may have originated around the same time as Kaitake but remained active until about 240,000 years ago. Much of Pouakai's large ringplain was obliterated by the Egmont Volcano, the hills near Eltham being the only remnant to the south.