26 October 2018
Maungarei / Mt Wellington summit vehicle-free in November
The tihi (summit) of Maungarei / Mt Wellington will permanently close to private motor vehicles, including motorbikes and scooters, from 10 November 2018.
The exception will be continued vehicle access for people who have limited mobility and cannot walk to the tihi; they or their drivers can phone the Auckland Council call centre to obtain an access code for a new automated gate that will be installed in coming weeks at the Mountain Road entrance to the maunga.
Pedestrian and cycle access will remain unchanged.
Work on enhancements towards a vehicle-free Maungarei were announced in early July. Construction has included the build of new visitor car park and toilet block beside the Mountain Road entrance to the maunga and a reduction and reconfiguration of the tihi car park to accommodate limited mobility and service vehicles only.
Given the reduced space for vehicles at the tihi and a narrow summit road shared by pedestrians, the maunga will be closed to all vehicles over the weekends 27-28 October and 3-4 November to prevent congestion and inappropriate parking.
Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority says the change recognises that, as with the other maunga recently pedestrianised, Maungarei / Mt Wellington is a site of immense cultural and historical significance.
“Maungarei was a significant pā in the east of the Tāmaki isthmus and important examples of early Māori life in Tāmaki Makaurau still exist in the form of terraces, midden and pits shaped for dwellings, agriculture and defence” says 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 and safer experience for pedestrians is at the heart of the vehicle access changes.”
The changes at Maungarei / Mt Wellington follow the very successful pedestrianisation of Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill in May this year, Takarunga / Mt Victoria and Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa / Mt Roskill in March this year, and Maungawhau / Mt Eden in January 2016. Work is underway now to pedestrianise Ōwairaka / Mt Albert.
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority announced a decision in November 2016 that the tihi of these maunga would become pedestrian-only spaces. The changes were 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.
“We have had consistent feedback that the maunga are vastly more peaceful and safer places to be without cars driving up and over them. People are really connecting with the preservation of these taonga. Maungarei remains a public space for all visitors to enjoy. These changes are about rethinking how we interact with the whenua and better protect it,” says Majurey.
More information about the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, the vehicle access changes and a copy of the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan can be found at www.maunga.nz.