Maunga ac­cess re­stricted

Ac­cess to Auck­land’s vol­canic cones has changed and lead­ers say it should help pro­tect the sa­cred sites. Jess Etheridge re­ports.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

New ac­cess times for mo­torists have been im­ple­mented on Auck­land’s vol­canic cones to pro­tect them from dam­age and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

As of Fe­bru­ary 1, ve­hic­u­lar ac­cess to all of the city’s vol­canic cones is be­tween 7am and 8.30pm.

They will close at 7pm dur­ing win­ter.

Con­fu­sion about the new times led to more than 100 mo­torists be­ing trapped on Maun­gawhau-Mt Eden on the night of Fe­bru­ary 3.

The gates were shut at the new time of 8.30pm, which came into ef­fect two days prior.

Those who drove up the moun­tain were out­raged when they were asked to pay $40 to the se­cu­rity com­pany to get their cars out.

Auck­land Coun­cil apol­o­gised for the in­ci­dent and promised to work with the se­cu­rity con­trac­tor so the in­ci­dent would not hap­pen again.

The Tupuna Maunga o Ta­maki Makau­rau Author­ity says the ear­lier clo­sure times will re­solve in­con­sis­tent man­age­ment, and un­wanted af­ter-hours ac­tiv­ity on the maunga.

The de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce new open­ing hours for all of Auck­land’s maunga was made on De­cem­ber 1 by the Maunga Author­ity.

Chair­man Paul Ma­jurey says po­lice have been in­volved on many oc­ca­sions be­cause of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour atop the maunga.

Van­dal­ism and drug and al­co­hol use make the place un­safe for fam­i­lies and tourists, Ma­jurey says.

High vol­umes of traf­fic can have detri­men­tal phys­i­cal af­fects on the maunga too, he says.

Buses were banned from the sum­mit of Maun­gawhau-Mt Eden in 2011.

The ban could be ex­tended to cars when the Maunga Author­ity meets again in April.

Ma­jurey says some maunga, such as Taku­ranga-Mt Vic­to­ria in Devon­port, have spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance as burial sites.

Moun­tain bik­ers some­times ride un­know­ingly over th­ese, caus­ing dam­age, he says.

Auck­land Coun­cil staff are work­ing hard to ed­u­cate maunga users to pre­vent fu­ture in­ci­dents, he says.

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Still open: New open and close times for mo­torists are in place across Auck­land’s vol­canic cones, in­clud­ing Mt Al­bert.

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