Maunga access times restricted
Access to Auckland’s volcanic cones has changed and leaders say it should help protect the sacred sites. Jess Etheridge reports.
New access times for motorists have been implemented on Auckland’s volcanic cones to protect them from damage and antisocial 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 MaungawhauMt Eden in 2011.
The ban could be extended to cars when the Maunga Authority meets again in April.
Majurey says some maunga, such as TakurangaMt 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.
Still open: New open and close times for motorists are in place across Auckland’s volcanic cones, including Maungawhau-Mt Eden.