Auckland maunga to be closed on Guy Fawkes

By Will Trafford

Fires in 2019 saw the Tūpuna Maunga Authority close the region's volcanic cones during the Guy Fawkes period. / NZME

Fourteen ancestral mountains of Tāmaki Makaurau will again be closed this year during the Guy Fawkes period, to protect them from potential fire outbreaks.

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority, which manages the mountains, says Aucklanders are being asked again to protect the 14 ancestral mountains, a number of which have been engulfed in flames in recent years.

Blazes at Maungarei  (Mt Wellington) and Maungawhau (Mt Eden) on Guy Fawkes night in 2019 saw significant damage and dozens of fire trucks scrambled to extinguish the blazes.

“Closures on the maunga were enacted over the 2020 and 2021 period and successfully prevented fires on all the maunga,” the authority said in a statement.

All tūpuna maunga will be closed from Wednesday, November 2 to Sunday, November 6, from 7.30pm through to usual gate opening times the following day,the authority says.

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority renewed its call for the government to end sales of fireworks to the public.

Blazes at Maungarei  (Mt Wellington) and Maungawhau (Mt Eden) on Guy Fawkes night in 2019 saw significant damage and dozens of fire trucks scrambled to extinguish the blazes. / Tūpuna Maunga Authority

Blazes at Maungarei / Mt Wellington (pictured) and Maungawhau / Mt Eden on Guy Fawkes night in 2019 saw significant damage and dozens of fire trucks scrambled to extinguish the blazes. / Tūpuna Maunga Authority

"Closing the maunga is not something we prefer. We want those beloved connections between the people of Tāmaki Makaurau and wider afield to always be available to the tūpuna maunga. But as long as fireworks are publicly available, we are left with no choice but to restrict access to avoid more massive fires and the enormous damage they cause," authority chair Paul Majurey said.

"There have been calls by us, Auckland Council, the SPCA and many other groups around the country for many years to restrict public sales of fireworks. In the hands of a few who lack self-control with reckless behaviours, fireworks have been the cause of immense damage and expense."

The maunga of Tāmaki Makaurau were pā settlements and are wāhi tapu (sacred sites).

For mana whenua they are considered taonga tuku iho (treasures handed down the generations).

"Ngā tūpuna maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau are among the most important cultural and natural heritage sites anywhere in New Zealand,” Alf Filipaina, Tūpuna Maunga Authority deputy chair said.

"They are on the tentative list for Unesco world heritage status and it’s critical that we safeguard them from harm."

Maunga to be closed during the Guy Fawkes period:

· Matukutūruru / Wiri Mountain

· Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill

· Maungarei / Mount Wellington

· Maungawhau / Mount Eden

· Maungauika / North Head

· Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mount Albert

· Ōhinerau / Mount Hobson

· Ōhuiarangi / Pigeon Mountain

· Ōtāhuhu / Mount Richmond

· Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa / Mount Roskill

· Te Kōpuke / Tītīkōpuke / Mount St John

· Takarunga / Mount Victoria

· Te Pane o Mataaho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain

· Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King.

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