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Safer spaces on the way for Auckland's ancestral mountains

Published: 22 November 2016

Pedestrian-only areas at the tihi (summits) of five tūpuna maunga (ancestral mountains) will be introduced in 2017.

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority decided at their meeting on 21 November that the tihi of Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill, Maungarei / Mt Wellington, Ōwairaka / Mt Albert, Puketāpapa / Mt Roskill and Takarunga / Mt Victoria will become pedestrian-only spaces next year.

The tihi will be shared with cyclists, and limited mobility vehicle access will be provided via automated barriers.

The changes follow the very successful pedestrianisation of Maungawhau / Mt Eden last year.  

The changes also support key directions in the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan, including ensuring Aucklanders can experience safe, car-free areas, and the respect for mana whenua connections with these significant and special ancestral places.  

Safety first

Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, says the pedestrian measures will increase public safety and enhance pedestrian access while respecting the cultural values of the maunga.

“There has been overwhelming public support for the pedestrianisation of Maungawhau and it is pleasing to see families safely walking the roads there in great numbers. This experience together with the mounting calls from various communities to do the same at other tūpuna maunga gives us the confidence to take this next step.”

“Public safety is also a priority for the Tūpuna Maunga Authority. Recent traffic counts at Maungakiekie confirm that hundreds of people are walking to the tihi every weekday, rising to an average of 629 each weekend day. We are very concerned with the increasing number of near misses between cars and pedestrians,” Majurey says.

Limited mobility access

As with Maungawhau, automated entry barriers will be installed on the summit roads on each of the five maunga to enable access for people with limited mobility. Access codes will be provided to limited mobility drivers on request, allowing them to drive to the tihi in their own vehicle. Codes will also be provided to regular limited mobility users such as retirement homes.

Majurey says the system has worked well on Maungawhau.

Open vehicle access to other parts of the maunga will remain.

Other measures to support these changes include additional car parking spaces on the lower reaches of the maunga, increased vehicle turning areas, new toilet facilities and improved walking tracks.

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