Geothermal energy, junior environmentalists, and agricultural innovation will be part of the programme for the visit of the Governor General and his wife to the Taupo area this week.

Lt Gen Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae will visit the central North Island from today until Friday.

The visit was to start this afternoon with a welcome onto Hirangi Marae by Ngati Tuwharetoa. This event will have special significance as Sir Jerry has tribal affiliations to the iwi.

Tomorrow the couple will visit the Tongariro National Trout Centre to look at how the site has been developed, and to be briefed on future plans, followed by a visit to Glen Emmreth Farm, home of Taupo Beef, to look at the work of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust and visit a Landcare Research laboratory. Tomorrow's activities will be rounded off by a tour of Miraka Milk at Mokai.


On Thursday they will go to the GNS Science Research Centre at Wairakei for a presentation on the centre's latest research projects. Sir Jerry will visit master carver Delani Brown and his students while Lady Janine will have morning tea with some leading figures from Taupo's arts and culture community.

On Thursday afternoon, Sir Jerry and Lady Janine will meet with students from the Kids Greening Taupo programme for an overview of their activities before Sir Jerry meets with the Harbourmaster team and the Taupo Coastguard, sees the new Harbourmaster patrol vessel and has afternoon tea with Honorary Enforcement Officers and Coastguard Volunteers.

Thursday rounds off with a round-table discussion with local tourism and hospitality representatives during a scenic cruise on Lake Taupo.

The first stop on Friday will be a visit to Wairakei Estate Pastoral where activities will include a sheep-milking demonstration. This will be followed by a visit to Fiber Fresh Feeds for a tour of its processing facility.

The final visit will be to Murupara Area School to meet staff and students and observe classes taking place in the school's newly built collaborative learning environments. The couple will plant a kowhai tree before leaving for Wellington.