A man who hid in a cave on Mt Ruapehu has appeared in court charged with disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest.

Richard David Parker, 38, built a cave late at night on the Turoa ski field in Tongariro National Park, staying in it for three days.

Although he lived in Auckland he was a regular visitor to the snow, and told Fairfax he was keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city.

"It was amazing. I had an epic view.


"You wake up and the lifts aren't going so it was the silence.

"It's not what you get from everyday life. At night you get the wind drift and it's something that is getting harder for younger Kiwis to do."

"It's one of my favourite places. I love Ohakune. It's so accessible and one of the few places in New Zealand you can get to the snow."

He was arrested last Sunday after a dispute over an attempt to move a public bench.

Parker claims he was unlawfully arrested and is hopeful of getting the charges dropped during a trial in October.

Sergeant Mike Craig told Fairfax it was the first time police had removed someone living in a snow cave.

"I've been here for 14 years and I'm not aware of another incident quite like this.

"People do silly things and this was a bit out of the ordinary."

Parker had to brave frigid temperatures during his stay in the cave, as it dropped to -5C overnight on Mt Ruapehu.

Hillary Outdoors Education Centre programme manager Mike Brenton told Fairfax staying in a snow cave was not a simple task.

"It's not something you do willy nilly and say I'm going to snow cave," he said.

"You've got to be well prepared and have good gear and know what your doing."

"They need to have good clothing, good gear and know what they're doing and to know where to go or it's a recipe for disaster. You could risk frostbite if you get it wrong."