The tihi (summit) of Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill will permanently close to all motor vehicles, including motorbikes and scooters from mid-May. The changes were announced in early March and can now be implemented following the completion of the reconfigured summit road entrance.
The exception is continued vehicle access for people who have limited mobility and are unable to safely walk to the tihi; they or their drivers can obtain an access code for the gate for the day of their visit. For those who can walk to the tihi, parking is available near the summit road entrance. Access through to Cornwall Park remains the same.
Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority says, “We know that the astounding 360-degree views of Tāmaki Makaurau from the top of Maungakiekie are prized by all who visit. This change is only going to enhance that experience. Taking cars away – with the exception of those for people with limited mobility – gives visitors a chance to think about the maunga as more than just a vantage point and hopefully feel a stronger connection to it. We saw exactly that happen at Maungawhau / Mt Eden when we pedestrianised the tihi there in January 2016, and we believe we will see the same at Maungakiekie.”
“The changes are not about restricting access but rather enabling access in a way that respects the significance of the place.”
Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Councillor Josephine Bartley says, "It is a beautiful thing to do, to shift the focus to the spiritual, ancestral, cultural, customary and historical significance of the maunga/mountain while still ensuring everyone can enjoy the amazing views and presence on site."
The historic significance and the continued cultural connection over time set 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.
Maungakiekie was one of the largest pā in the region and some of the best-preserved records of early Māori life in Tāmaki Makaurau can be seen there in the many terraces and pits shaped for dwellings, agriculture and defence.
It is expected that Maungarei / Mt Wellington and Ōwairaka / Mt Albert will also be pedestrianised this year.