Tourists heading past Rainbow Mountain, south of Rotorua, might have once been puzzled at its name.

For years, the colourful ridges that adorned the 743m-high geothermal landmark had been swallowed up by dense stands of ugly green pine.

Paul Cashmore remembered the scruffy-looking forest that dominated the mountain back in the 1980s and 1990s.

"The geothermal slopes were covered in conifers - and now you have to look quite hard to see them," the local Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger said.


"The mountain has regained its colours."

That hasn't come easily.

For nearly two decades, chainsaw gangs have negotiated the


Nature on the line

Big numbers

Striking a balance