Chateau Tongariro

Chateau Tongariro

Location: State Highway 48, Whakapapa Village, Ruapehu.  Historic Place Category: 1

The Chateau was built in 1929 and handed over to the Department of Tourists and Health Resorts. In 1942 it was commandeered by the Health Department and operated as a women's asylum with patients from the damaged Porirua Psychiatric Institute being transferred there due to the Wairarapa earthquakes. In 1945 patients were evacuated to Auckland due to Ruapehu erupting, and the Chateau then served as a place of rest and recuperation for Air Force personnel returning from World War 2. In 1990 it was sold to a private Malaysian based conglomerate which saw the 2005 addition of a new wing which houses 39 rooms.  Today it has returned to it's roots and operates as it was intended to - as a luxury hotel for tourists.

On January 7th 1943 May O'Connell 64 years old, who was interred as a patient, wandered off and was never seen again.  On the 19th November 1945 some hunters found the remains of a body 6 kilometres away.  This was identified as May due to the strand of pearls around her neck that she was reknown for wearing.  There are reports of another couple of missing patients but we have been unable to find evidence to support this at this time.

There are numerous stories of people having experienced paranormal incidents at this Hotel. There are reports of Rooms 305, 308, 311 and 312 being effected by anomalous incidents. Everything from curtains blowing when there is no drafts present, rooms turning freezing cold all of a sudden, or the opposite of being boiling hot, taps turning themselves on, doors refusing to open, doors slamming shut, doors opening by themselves, footsteps, whispers and much more! It is believed the old wing is haunted by a nurse called Charlotte who died there and other hauntings are attributed to patients who reputedly killed themselves on the grounds.

Could it be poor old May O'Connell or perhaps the other 2 patients that allegedly went missing from the Chateau? Or maybe it is Nurse Charlotte still making her rounds?

There are urban legends abound regarding patients and staff who allegedly killed themselves on the grounds, another of a murder, and more of accidents that have occurred. To date, our research has been limited on this location and due to the Privacy Act 2020 we don't expect to be able to uncover much regarding these alleged hauntings or who they might be attributed to.

Our Case Manager personally knows a few staff members there and has been informed that one of the floors of the old wing, and particularly a few of the rooms are 'without a doubt' and 'hard out!' haunted. 

Research Status:  Current

Have you experienced something you can't explain at this location?  Leave us a comment below.  Your email will not be published.


  • I was a Staff at the Chateau in 2022 me and my coworker were putting win glasses away in the restaurant and there was a table right next to the wine glass cabinet with a tabel cloth on it centred perfectly and with a small sign waight placed in the middle of the table on the table cloth my coworker and I were not even near the table when we watched the table cloth just fall of the table and it was just me and my one coworker there there was no drafts or anything around the table that could have caused it.
    Posted: 2023-08-01 18:19   by Annoying

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