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Monday, December 10, 2012

Love Your Mountain Day winners!

Here are the four winners of the prize draw that we conducted on Love Your Mountain Day yesterday, using the Programme/Comment forms handed in to the information tables on the west and east sides of the maunga:

  • A 6-month subscription to the Weekend Gardener: Tracy Owen
  • A $50 voucher from the City Cake Company: Véronique Cornille
  • Another $50 voucher from the City Cake Company: Joan Baker
  • Toiletries from the Mt Eden Pharmacy: Jenny Boyd

Congratulations, and thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments
about the day.

Our thanks also to the Mt Eden businesses that contributed:

Bakers Delight
Barfoot & Thompson Mt Eden
Bay Audiology Mt Eden Clinic
Burger Wisconsin
Casa del Gelato
Chapter Book Café and Tea Shop
City Cake Company
Civic Video
De Post Belgian Beer Pub
Dream of Italy
Elle
Hair & Body Bliss
Ironique Café
Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust
Mt Eden Jewellers
Mt Eden Pharmacy
Mt Eden Village Business Association
Pomegranate
Sierra Mt Eden
The Candyman
The Digital Darkroom
The Essential Deli
Vital Health
Volcanic Café
Zurri

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Koru Trail

A group of us spent this afternoon putting up Koru on the 'Koru Trail'. Look out for them tomorrow.


First wish on the Wish Tree

Looks like this wish is going to come true!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guided tours of Government House grounds on Love Your Mountain Day

 
Clint Jensen and NZSL interpreter
Ginette Rawlinson
Today we had a private guided tour of Government House grounds in preparation for the NZSL-interpreted free public tour at 10:30am on Love Your Mountain Day. 

Head gardener Clint Jensen showed us around the landscaped garden developed over a period of 45 years by Sir Frank and Lady Mappin and gifted to the Crown in 1966.

Among the many notable trees in the garden is a very special tecomanthe speciosa. Native to the Three Kings Islands, the species was almost wiped out by goats until the chance discovery in 1945 of one solitary plant which still exists on the island.

Two plants were propagated from this one remaining plant in the wild. One was sent to the former DSIR, and it is the source of the tecomanthe plants now widely available in garden centres, Clint told us. The other cutting was entrusted to the Mappins, a testament to their horticultural knowledge and experience.

The tecomanthe specimen propagated from the sole survivor on the Three Kings Islands is still thriving in the grounds of Government House, carefully tended as the Mappins wished when they gave their garden to the Crown.

On Love Your Mountain Day, you can visit and learn more about the garden, its history and plants, and its lava-flow forest which is a designated ecologically significant area, one of only three pockets of lava-flow forest remaining in Auckland. 

Tours leave from our information table at the Pavilion inside the grounds at 10:30am (signed) and 2:30pm (not signed). A tour of Withiel Thomas reserve, another lava-flow forest pocket, starts at 12:30pm. It is led by Sel Arbuckle, a highly knowledgeable volunteer who has weeded and looked after the reserve for over 15 years.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Release of rare native Red Admiral butterflies on Love Your Mountain Day

 
Our native Red Admiral and Yellow Admiral butterflies, once common in New Zealand, are seldom seen these days. They depend on a favourite food plant, the stinging nettle. They lay their eggs on the nettle leaves, which provide food for the hatched larvae. 

Thanks to naturalists and butterfly enthusiasts, including Friends of Maungawhau committee member Rob Jones and the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust, stinging nettles are now being planted and grown in Auckland.

Because Admiral butterflies tend to congregate around hilltops to find mates, the nettles on Maungawhau are an important habitat in a coordinated breeding programme. Nettles have been planted in several places, well away from paths and tracks, in Eden Garden and on the maunga. These vtial patches of ground nettles (Urtica Incisa) must not be dug out or mistakenly sprayed, as happened earlier this year (see the photo below).

Stinging nettles on Maungawhau
inadvertently sprayed by contractors
in an attempt to kill Italian aru
On Love Your Mountain Day, Sunday 9 December, there will be a release of Red Admiral and monarch butterflies in Government House grounds. 

Come along at 12pm to see this rare and special event, and learn more about preserving and nurturing Admiral butterflies from Jacqui Knight, trustee and secretary of the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust.

Weather check: The butterfly release is weather-dependent.


Music on the maunga

There'll be music on the maunga (west side from Mt Eden Road) all through Love Your Mountain Day:
Eden Roberts

10:45      Flautist sisters Audrey van Ryn
               and Hazel Lamb

11:10      Blind harpist and folksinger
               Mara Kelland

12:30      Guitarist Eden Roberts, winner of
               the SmokefreeRockquest National
               Women's musicianship award, and
               the Play it Strange Peace Song
               Award

Audrey van Ryn and Hazel Lamb
1:15       Singer/songwriter Gerald Waters,
              valued volunteer with our Tuesday
              weeding group

2:00       Bolivian guitarist Sergio Arellano

Audrey and Hazel, Gerald and Sergio played for us last year, and it's great to have them back again.


Eden Roberts will be a special treat: She's a talented 17-year-old who performed with her kauri guitar in the film Song of the Kauri.









Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love Your Mountain Day: Just two weeks away!

Scary but true! Love Your Mountain Day is on Sunday 9 December. We're fine-tuning and updating our programme for the day. Check it out here.
Please pass on our poster.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sign language


Jean and Keith have been labelling some of the plants in our Batger Quarry work area: red for weeds, yellow for small native plants, and white for native trees. 

The labels, obtained through a grant from the Albert-Eden Local Board, include common, botanical and Maori names - and on some, a few words of explanation.

Mary Stewart from Biosecurity, Auckland Council, joined us on 30 October, to arrange to take away the madeira vine infestations that Jeremy had discovered and removed from Tahaki Reserve. That's Mary, behind Jean.

Jean writes: "There are more labels to come, this was just the first batch. Would you believe we struggled to find a good patch of tradescantia – ended up carefully weeding a little area of everything but tradescantia, to make it stand out."
 
We'll be labelling more plants in the quarry area, in preparation for a guided walk led by Kit Howden as part of Love Your Mountain Day.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Geology walk with Garry Carr

Yesterday, instead of weeding the maunga as usual on a Tuesday, some of us joined a geology tour of Maungawhau, hosted by the Auckland Geology Club and led by Garry Carr, science teacher at AGS, as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival.

The hypothetical nature of the science about what lies beneath the ground surface, or even visible on the surface, surprised me a little. It's still debatable, for instance, how many scoria cones there were on Maungawhau. Even the large basalt rocks in the wall that Garry's indicating here may not have come from Maungawhau (though they probably did). And there's "no pattern whatsoever" in eruptions from Auckland's volcanic field, Garry assured the anxious among us.

Interesting too to learn that large boulders always mark the "toe" of a lava flow, as evident on the stoney hillock, an off-leash dog area, next to the playground at the northern boundary.

Having walked up the maunga from Tahaki Reserve, we returned via the steps to Mountain Road, then round Stokes Road and Clive Road. Where we spotted a more recent sub-surface feature, possibly a rubbish dump though we now know better than to make definitive claims, at the south-east corner of AGS's playing field. Just like the old days, huh...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Maungawhau Guided Walk during the Auckland Heritage Festival


Join us in a free guided walk on Maungawhau, led by historian and kaumatua Pita Turei.
 
Date: 7 October
Time: 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Meet: Summit of Maungawhau

This walk is our contribution to the Heritage Festival. We particularly welcome the Deaf community. A qualified NZ Sign Language (NZSL) interpreter will accompany Pita as he relates the stories and history of our maunga through his oratory and performance skills.
 
Other walks during the festival include a Maungawhau geology tour with geologist Garry Carr on Tuesday 2 October, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, and several volcano walks and events related to Mt Eden.

Check out the online festival programme (booklet due out on 10 September):

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ngarimu Blair on "The Original Jafas"


 One of the founding members of the Friends of Maungawhau, Ngarimu Blair will be speaking in the Mt Eden Village Centre next Tuesday 11 September at 7:30pm.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Report on Community Planting Day 15 July

By Jean Barton, volunteer coordinator

Sunday's planting day went remarkably well despite intermittent rain. Including six of the "usual suspects" – Dorothy, Jeremy, Sel, Kit, me and Keith – there were 23 workers, and they certainly did work. Not a shirker among them; a diverse bunch, each one with a particular skill.

We arrived to find Kit had the plants attractively grouped and labelled, and had numbered the planting sites up the track above the Rautangi Rd entrance, using plastic tags funded by the Albert-Eden Local Board. The Local Board has also provided funding for 60 pairs of gardening gloves for our regular Tuesday weeding sessions.

On reaching the site we found Kit's son had been busy planting a sizeable "demonstration patch" which gave us an excellent model to work from. Our newly-purchased planting spades (courtesy of Auckland Council) made the job easier, but it was still heavy, dirty work.

"Child labour" by four young boys was gratefully accepted. The mother with them explained cheerfully that their Dalmatian heritage means they are genetically programmed to dig; I later heard Sel saying to one boy, "You do realize there is no (kauri) gum here?"

Tea break was welcome, with the "Benghazi boilers" doing their usual efficient job. A slight glitch occurred just as the boiling water began splurting from the spouts and amid general anticipation we reached for the tea – Keith and I had one of our "I thought you packed it" moments, rapidly resolved by offering coffee while Keith dashed home to get the tea. The mini chocolate bars were popular, as were the discount vouchers from Casa del Gelato in Mt Eden village, even if some of us were mildly hypothermic by this stage.

Kit gave a brief talk on what FOM do, and current issues with Council.
A great morning's work, with over 300 plants in the ground. Some people even had enough energy left to walk the track and see our patch; all said they would come to future planting days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crater crash


Footage of the car being removed from the crater, care of the Central Leader.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Get 'em off!

There wouldn't be any need for 'security' patrols if all vehicles were banned from the summit. A ban would eliminate the theft problem and protect the maunga from this kind of idiocy. What puzzles us is why the vehicle was on the summit in any case. Isn't the gate on Mt Eden Rd supposed to be closed at 11pm? What if this had happened in summer, and the car had caught fire?


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/7205318/Car-pulled-from-Mt-Eden-crater

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wānanga Maunga


Yesterday we joined a Wānanga Maunga organised by Auckland Museum.
Archaeologist Louise Furey, kaumātua Pita Turei, and volcanologist Jan Lindsay led a two-hour walk-and-talk on #Maungawhau. We learned such a lot, and the morning ended with a scrumptious lunch! Thank you for the interesting Mātāriki programme this year, Auckland Museum.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Community Planting Day on Sunday 15 July

Help spread the word about our big day out on #Maungawhau!


Matariki at Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum has some fascinating events coming up during Matariki, including a #Maungawhau hikoi:

Wananga Maunga: "An off-site conversation between archaeology curator Louise Furey, tangata whenua Pita Turei, and volcanologist Jan Lindsay to make connections between collections and their relevance in Te Ao Maori.
 
Special focus will be on archaeological specimens found on Maunga Whau; what our mountains represent and the significance to Matariki; and the present state of knowledge of volcanic risk in Tamaki Makaurau."

The Wanaga Rongoā will be led by Ewen Cameron, Charmaine Wiapo and Rob McGowan, and focuses on native plant identification and regeneration, and medicinal properties of native flora and fauna.

Numbers are limited: To book please email Nga Remu with ‘RSVP Maunga', 'RSVP Rongoa' and/or 'RSVP Puoro' in the subject line or ph 306 7070 extn 7178.







Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lateral thinking

Today three of us spent a couple of hours transporting cut branches of pine, privet and flowering cherry from the fenceline along the southern boundary to our work area near Hillside Crescent.

We had tried planting there on Tuesday, but made slow progress with the loose rocky ground threatening to slide away underfoot. Digging a hole for a plant meant risking a landslide.

So Jean suggested we terrace the slope in preparation for the next lot of plants. She managed to enlist Gerald, anti-drink driving campaigner and Hillary Trail runner, to apply his professional landscaping skills.

Gerald will lay the branches horizontally across the slope, creating barriers to arrest the downward movement and stabilise the ground. Then we can put in more under-storey plants and, hopefully, they'll gain a foothold.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Community planting day on Maungawhau, Sunday 15 July 2012

We'll have a community planting day on #maungawhau on Sunday 15 July.
To be held in conjunction with Forest and Bird (Central Auckland).
Help us plant natives to replace the weeds on the southern slope, then boil the billy to celebrate World Ranger Day at the end of July.
For more information, see the Ecoevents site.





Smoking Ban needed on Maungawhau

The news today highlights an item in a Council meeting on a report that will start to develop policy to ban smoking on all parks in Auckland.
The Friends of Maungawhau have been calling for a ban for some time on volcanic cones [the ban already exists in regional parks]
No smoking is necessary not only for health reasons but to stop the littering of cigarette butts.
No smoking is also a sign of respect to these important cultural sites. The ban will also help reduce the fire risk.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Where is the community input to parks strategy?

On Tues 12th June the Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum of Auckland Council will consider two reports affecting volunteer work and the future of the volcanic cones. Doesn't encourage community input.
Ecological Prioritisation for Waitemata Local Board
• Draft Auckland Council Parks and Open Spaces Strategy

Had a quick look and while good stuff and great words, very general and the reality of getting it done is not fully considered. In other words, very top-end planning – and maybe too “planese” – remote from public engagement. Does not deal well with conservation versus recreation conflicts on limited parks resource.

PLEASE WRITE TO COUNCIL: That key community groups such as the Friends of Regional Parks (FOR Parks) and F&B and FoM etc be consulted as part of the next consultation process. There may be an over-emphasis with the CCOs having too great an input into the process, without it balanced with community groups having an input.

Kit Howden
Chairperson, Friends of Maungawhau

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Congratulations to the Tāmaki iwi

Congratulations to the Tāmaki iwi and hapu, the government and Auckland Council on forming co-governance for the volcanic cones and landscape. For years the cones have been poorly managed and hopefully the new arrangement will put greater focus for improved management.

A theme at the Rio+20 global conference this month is how to deal with human impacts that threaten nature, planetary boundaries and the few protected areas or parks remaining on the planet. One key is co-management based on giving authority back to indigenous people in association with government and the local community.

Pressure on our volcanic parks and green space will increase as Auckland grows. For example, view shafts need to be better protected, tracks need to be better maintained, old quarries stabilised, weeds controlled, boundaries clarified and recreation use monitored so archaeological features are protected.

Over a decade ago a group of concerned citizens including young iwi leaders formed a voluntary group, the Friends of Maungawhau, to campaign for better governance and understanding of the volcanic cones we live on. Active volunteers are still working to restore a 130-year-old quarry on the side of Maungawhau-Mt Eden. Restoring the neglected cones is a huge task. It needs more frontline commitment, not just from iwi, government and council, but from local communities and volunteers too.

Kit Howden
Chairperson, Friends of Maungawhau

Friends of Maungawhau Annual Reports

Annual reports for 2010-2011 & 2011-2012 are now online here

Friday, June 8, 2012

Volcanic cones Treaty settlement

The Auckland volcanic cones Treaty settlement was initialled yesterday.
On Radio NZ this morning Ngāti Whātua o Ōrakei trustee Ngarimu Blair said that once the settlement goes through, the iwi collective will be able to look after the volcanic cones properly.

"There'll be fewer weeds, there'll be more native biodiversity, there'll be more identification of the 1,000-year Māori history and heritage, there'll be more Māori art work, there'll be less damage to the archaeological sites by cows, there'll be visitor centres and cultural centres in time, so we're hoping there'll be a lot of change."

Right on!



Guess what it says:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meeting at Newmarket School


Here we have Ian, Sonya, Kat and April meeting to discuss Social Media options for the Friends of Maungawhau website and blog.
We threw around some ideas for the blog, and talked about ways to make it more user friendly and accessible. Tools such as Twitter and Facebook were looked at with the intention that in using these, we can connect to a larger audience more efficiently and effectively.
As we were meeting at Newmarket School, we had three visitors (Odette, Eilleen and Virginia) come to share a little about what the children (and staff) are working towards in their school in terms of media. Currently, some students are preparing to create a short film about the Maunga with original music. We look forward to hearing more about this as it evolves.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Auckland story for 23 May 2012 - Mt Eden

Mount Eden has been a popular tourist destination for years. Since
Christmas a shuttle operated by Ngati Whatua-o-Orakei has been giving
some folks a helping hand up and along the way they also learn something
about the history of the mountain.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Photos of Maungawhau

The Friends of Maungawhau is an incorporated society of citizens active in the conservation, protection and presentation of the international heritage  volcanic cones of Auckland, New Zealand.  We concentrate on Maungawhau, Mt Eden in Auckland. 

Contact
If you would like to help us or have any comments on issues related to Maungawhau Mt Eden please contact us.

Kit Howden
ph: (09) 630 1490
mobile: (027) 667 1059
email: info(at)maungawhau.co[dot]nz

Monday, May 28, 2012

We need your help for the winter planting season

We have over 1,500 native seedlings to plant in Batger Quarry and on the lower southern slopes.

Volunteers will start planting on 29 May, continuing every Tuesday morning through June-July. If you're free on Tuesday mornings, please consider lending a hand. Gloves, tools, and refreshments are provided. Just turn up at 9:30 am at the end of Batger Road, or call our volunteer coordinator Jean on 630-7010 for more details.

Public planting days on Saturday or Sunday will be scheduled soon. Check back here, or email us for advance notice.

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM will be held on Tuesday 5 June

(Arbour Day & World Environment Day)

7:30pm at St Barnabas Church Hall

corner of Mt Eden and Bellevue Roads

FoM chairperson Kit Howden will give a presentation on our volunteer work and current issues on the volcanic cones.

All welcome, especially new members!

Refreshments provided.

Nominations for the positions of chair, secretary, treasurer, and ordinary committee members will be accepted until 29 May 2012. Email nominations to info(at)maungawhau.co[dot]nz.

We look forward to seeing you at our AGM.