Work begins this week on returning the tihi (summit) of Takarunga / Mt Victoria to a vehicle-free space.
The tihi and the summit road will be permanently closed to all private motor vehicles including motorbikes and scooters from 1 March 2018. Parking spaces at the Kerr Street entrance to the maunga will have parking time limits enforced from 1 April to help ensure all visitors have equal parking opportunity.
People who have limited mobility and are unable to walk to the Takarunga tihi, and the drivers of people with limited mobility, can contact Auckland Council on the day of their visit to obtain an access code for the barrier arm at the summit road entrance.
Following Maungawhau's lead
The access changes follow the very successful pedestrianisation of the Maungawhau / Mt Eden tihi and summit road in January 2016 which Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, says was pivotal in informing the Authority’s decision on vehicle movement at other maunga.
“Since the changes at Maungawhau we have had consistent feedback from visitors that the maunga is a vastly more peaceful and safer place to be without cars driving up and over it. We’ve also had very positive comments on the steps we’ve taken to ensure people with limited mobility can still get to the tihi, and we will be installing the same system at Takarunga.”
Majurey adds that the attitudes of visitors to Maungawhau was also quick to change following the vehicle access changes there.
“What is really pleasing is the increasing number of people who are understanding and connecting with the preservation of these taonga and the work to bring their natural qualities and cultural history to the fore.”
Sites of significance
The Auckland maunga under the care of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority are culturally and archaeologically significant sites. The maunga were occupied by Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau for a millennium and in many cases archaeological remnants of early occupation remain intact.
“The historic significance and the continued cultural connection over time sets the Auckland volcanic landscape apart from others around the world, and for this reason the Auckland maunga were placed at the top of New Zealand’s list for world heritage status several years ago,” explains Majurey.
“To Mana Whenua, the tihi of a maunga holds great spiritual and cultural significance and has always been a place to be treated with respect and reverence. Honouring these values alongside creating an enhanced experience for pedestrians is at the heart of the Authority’s decision to make the tihi of Auckland’s maunga vehicle-free spaces.”
“The maunga will continue to be public places for people to enjoy. These changes are about rethinking how we interact with the whenua and better protect it.”
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority resolved at their November 2016 hui that the tihi of Takarunga / Mt Victoria, Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill, Maungarei / Mt Wellington, Ōwairaka / Mt Albert and Puketāpapa / Mt Roskill would become pedestrian-only spaces.
Motor vehicle removal from the tihi of Auckland’s maunga was also signalled in the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan which was publicly notified and the subject of a public submission and hearing process in 2016.
More information about the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, including the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan, can be found at maunga.nz