A two-year project to replace ageing pine trees with new native planting on the quarry face at Maungarei / Mt Wellington will start this month.
Around 100 pine trees will be removed from the quarry area at the southern side of the maunga over two years, making room for 10,000 native trees to be planted in their place.
Establishing a native bush ecosystem
The long-term aim is to establish a native bush ecosystem in the quarry area, reflective of what was originally present on the maunga. New natives will include kānuka, karo, māhoe, pōhutukawa and pūriri.
Once the replanting has been completed, the quarry area will be one of the largest concentrated expanses of native bush in the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board area.
The project will be carefully staged to limit erosion risk on the steep slope. A portion of the pines will be removed in the coming weeks and the soil replanted during this winter. The remaining pines will be removed in late summer next year, with replanting completed in the weeks following.
All trees will be cut at the base or above, so there will be no earthworks. No scheduled or protected trees will be removed.
While arborists are on site they will also remove several non-native trees at the tihi (summit) and will complete necessary maintenance in the Winifred Huggins memorial grove, removing dead trees and making it safer for visitors.
Restoring the indigenous landscape
Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, says the Tūpuna Maunga Authority has made a commitment to enhancing the maunga in Auckland and this restorative planting project is another significant step towards that.
“Maungarei is one of the better-preserved Māori volcanic pā (fortified village) sites in the Auckland region. While the quarrying of the southern side has destroyed the archaeology there, this native planting programme and removal of exotic species will go some way toward restoring the authenticity and visual integrity of the maunga as an important indigenous landscape."
"The project is significant in that it not only increases the overall number of trees on the maunga but provides a potential future habitat for native bird life while also restoring the mauri (spiritual essence) of the maunga."
“There is also a practical element. The pine trees we are removing are at the end of their lives and we are finding that in every major storm we have trees falling at the quarry face and doing a lot of ground damage. Several pines fell in the big storm last month,” Majurey says.
Trees will be removed using a range of methods, including manual felling and helicopter lifts, depending on the size of the tree and its location on the maunga.
Helicopter work will only occur during 9am to 5pm weekdays, and the maunga will be closed to the public on days the helicopter is operating. Signage will be placed at entrance points.
Vegetation management on the maunga, including the proactive management of exotic trees and pest plants, and the restoration of indigenous flora and fauna, was 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