What’s happening on Māngere Mountain?
Over the past month, around 150 exotic trees have been removed from Māngere Mountain/Te Pane o Mataoho. In their place, 13,000 native trees and shrubs will be planted across the rocky terrain of the 70,000 year-old volcanic cone.
It’s no small undertaking, but Paul Majurey, chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, says it’s part of a wider plan for all of the historic maunga sites across Tāmaki Makaurau.
“Māngere Mountain is one of the best-preserved Māori volcanic pā (fortified village) sites in the Auckland region, with intact archaeology such as ancient kumara pits and midden which are some of the last and few remaining traces of early Māori life in Tāmaki Makaurau. All components of this restoration work are about restoring the maunga as an important indigenous landscape, and at the same time establishing a top recreation destination for visitors,” says Majurey.
Many of the felled trees were identified as pest plants in the Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy, and some of them were a safety hazard, having fallen onto walking tracks. Several large macrocarpa were also hanging precariously over a crater, and were growing very close to archaeological sites.
The second phase of the restoration is an enhanced track network, and work will start on this next year. The tihi loop track will be recreated with wider paths, and rest areas at key points to take in the views. Stairs will be designed for steeper sections of the track.
As it is one the most significant native skink habitats of any of the maunga sites in Auckland, a new home for native ornate and copper skinks will be created on the northern side.
A major redevelopment of the playground will also start next year. The aim is to create a bespoke nature-play space inspired by the landscape and the stories associated with the maunga and Māori culture.