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Saturday, December 7, 2013

How many cones formed Maungawhau-Mt Eden?

Some archaeologists and geologists have suggested that Maungawhau consists of three or four overlapping scoria cones. New research by geologists Bruce Hayward and Garry Carr points to a different conclusion. 

Join Dr Hayward's guided tour on Love Your Mountain Day, Sunday 8 December, to find out more. Gather at the visitor centre (old kiosk) on Maungawhau for a 12:30pm start. Full programme here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Butterfly release on Love Your Mountain Day

Last year was perfect weather for the butterfly release on Love Your Mountain Day. This year the recent heavy rain may have put a damper on our plans.

But fingers crossed! Jacqui Knight, trustee and secretary of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust, will be on hand and the release of Red Admiral and Monarch butterflies in the grounds of Government House will go ahead at 12pm if possible.

Rob Jones, butterfly enthusiast and chair of Forest & Bird, Auckland Central Branch, hopes to be there too. Jacqui and Rob will talk about their efforrts to save the Red and Yellow Admirals, and how you can help - by getting rid of wasps and by planting stinging nettles which the butterflies depend on for their survival.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Photo essay competition winners announced

The winners of our photo essay competition for school-age students, Loving Our Maunga, are Antonio Montero and Stella Fish. Both are students at Auckland Normal Intermediate.

Entries were judged anonymously by photographer Judith Holtebrinck, who is the manager of the Mt Eden Village Centre and the coordinator of the Mount Eden Village People.

Judith made these general comments:

"A great variation of entries showing the maunga and activities around it from different perspectives. All contestants deserve a prize for their wonderful work and effort."

First-prize winner Antonio will have his photo essay formatted and printed as an A0-size poster on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm paper by The Digital Darkroom.

Stella has won the Delsey Mini Photo Pack from the Auckland Camera Centre.

Both winners' photo essays will soon be on our website.

Thanks to Judith's generosity, all contestants will receive a signed copy of New Zealand - Spirit of the Land, written by David Sullivan with 120 photos by Judith.

All the contestants' photo essays be on display in the Visitor Centre on Love Your Mountain Day, Sunday 8 December.

Thank you everyone, and congratulations!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Maungawhau/Mt Eden: All at Sea with the SEA?

How should we care for our volcanic cones? Take a guided walk with heritage parks campaigner Kit Howden, chairperson of FoM, during the Auckland Heritage Festival. Meet us at the old kiosk (former Langtons restaurant on Maungawhau).

The walk will go through the Friends' ecological restoration project in Batger Quarry, and along the southern slope of the maunga up to the summit.

Kit will discuss the proposed Significant Ecological Area (SEA) zoning for Maungawhau under the Unitary Plan, and the competing demands on our volcanic cones for open space, tourism, biodiversity and heritage preservation.

The walk ends with refreshments in the old kiosk.
This is a dog-free walk. Not suitable for children.
You can download a map of the maunga here.

Date: Sunday 29 September
Time: 10.30 am to 1.00 pm
Venue: The old kiosk (visitor centre) on Maungawhau/Mt Eden
Cost: $5
Booking required: Yes - Max. 20 people
Phone: 09 631 0057, 027 217 3540
Website: Auckland Heritage Festival

Thursday, July 25, 2013

World Ranger Day

Ranger Esnart Paundi was killed by poachers in Zambia. She was the only breadwinner in her family and her children now struggle.
Read about Esnart in last week’s Guardian Weekly.

The Thin Green Line Foundation supports rangers and their families in these "wildlife war zones” where rangers make sacrifices in trying to protect vanishing species.

World Ranger Day
is on 31st July.

As usual, the Friends of Maungawhau will acknowledge the event on Tuesday 30th with our traditional “billy-boiling” and a cup of tea after our volunteer work on the Maunga.

All welcome to join us at 11.30 am at the end of Batger Rd, Mt Eden.

If you want to make a donation to The Thin Green Line, please bring what you can.
Or send us an email with 'Donate'
in the subject line and we will send details to you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Annual General Meeting

Date for your diary:
Wed 26 June at 7:30pm
St Barnabas Church Hall 
corner of Mt Eden and Bellevue Roads

Come along and find out what's happening on and around the maunga.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What's happening on Maungawhau / Mt Eden

FoM newsletter by Kit Howden

The Friends of Maungawhau have three main objectives: volunteering to remove weeds and establish native vegetation in the old Batger Quarry and surrounds; public education; and advocacy on the significance of volcanic cones and green public spaces.


Volunteers continue to gather each Tuesday morning, weeding and gradually changing the face of the southern and western slopes of Maungawhau, as well as other areas in the neighbourhood. If interested, join up to the "Workers List" and read Jean's weekly reports covering the humour, stories, issues and challenges we face.

Recently we've had great support from Mary Stewart, biosecurity officer in the council, helping clear the southern boundary .

Keith, Mary, Chantal, Keith, Jean, Robyn, Dorothy and Kit
on Tuesday 23 April 2013
A big thank-you to people who helped water plants during the driest summer in 70 years: Abha, Annis, April, Brenda, Dorothy, Geoffrey, James, Jean, Jeannine, Jeremy, Keith, Mike, Rose, Sel and Valerie. Hundreds of hours of work was effective in saving plants.

We need volunteers with skills in putting together PowerPoint presentations, designing display materials, photography, writing, communications, etc. 

Please contact us if you can help
in any way.


Love Your Mountain Day will be held on Sun 8th Dec when Government House grounds will be open. This will be the last year that April leads the event, so any offers for help in the future will be appreciated.

We continue to get enquiries and comments from schools and the public regarding issues on the maunga and we try to reply to them. Unfortunately some stem from a lack of response from the council.

The renovations and restoration of the old kiosk to make it earthquake-proof are nearing completion. The Tāmaki Hikoi guides will be based there again and the FoM are hoping we too can return to use this as our base.

Recent news in the press:
Snail-pace action on volcanoes by Brian Rudman
Plan puts volcano views at risk by Mathew Dearnaley
Parks rangers' morale rocked by shake-up by Wayne Thompson
Council votes to guard more volcano views by Mathew Dearnaley
Volcanic views an Auckland right by Brian Rudman

Ecological report
Following a grant from the ASB Community Trust, an ecologist has prepared an ecological report for us. It is due for completion this month. In addition, we're preparing a history of our involvement on the maunga and reviewing our future as volunteers. Hopefully this will be a published booklet.


Keeping up with the co-governance issues over the Treaty settlement:
The volcanic cones including Maungawhau will be transferred to a Maunga Authority once the legislation passes through Parliament later this year. The bill has yet to be presented to parliament. The council will continue to manage the day-to-day operations and this may develop into a co-management relationship with iwi and the community. However, in our view this is not developing very well as illustrated by the difficulties with our MoU and the Rangers Report. (see below)

Our MOU with Auckland Council:
Under a spirit of co-management the FoM negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the council. However, it has failed to be implemented with many questions left unanswered and a lack of direction given to our volunteer operations. In addition the Stakeholders Group has not meet this year.

Auckland Grammar School:
Auckland Grammar School has steep areas covered in environmental weeds that drift onto Maungawhau. Our volunteers have worked to remove the weeds. We are hopeful that the school will become more involved through their environmental committee.

Using the Public Information Act:
We have had to resort to using the PIA to get reports that affect volunteer work and to find out what is happening on the volcanic cones. At present we need the council survey of weeds in areas that FoM volunteers work in and the consultants' review of the ranger service in the Auckland Council. (Through our submissions, a recommendation for a ranger service for the volcanic cones was mentioned in the Royal Commission's report on the Super City for Auckland - this is an on-going issue to get better practical and cost-effective management.)

Parks section of Council under pressure:
FoM have been well received by manager Mace Ward and senior staff, and soon a senior management may be appointed to oversee all the volcanic cones under Treaty settlement. Mace has also been receptive to FoM reports illustrating the poor use of ratepayer funds in some operations such as the failure of the kikuyu-to-native plant conversion system. We suspect present staff are under great pressure and some poor decisions are being made. This is why FoM have long called for professional on-the-ground rangers to coordinate the many contractors, consultants, staff, volunteers and operations to ensure the best use is made of ratepayers' dollars in the care of the maunga.

Unitary Plan and SEAs:
The Friends have been involved mainly to get the boundaries of the significant ecological area (SEA) on Maungawhau extended to the whole boundary of the reserve. The zoning and unitary plan for the volcanic cones are reasonable except for the view shafts to prevent large buildings screening out the cones. The building out of access to the cones with buildings going right up against the boundaries is also an issue. This needs greater attention under the urban design rules which we understand are still in draft form. In addition the Friends continue to advocate for an overall Open Space Strategy to ensure there is a high level vision and direction for green parks and open space in a more crowded city.
A public meeting organised by local residents will be held on Tuesday 30 April. More information on their website.

EDS Unitary Plan workshop:
Some of us attended the workshop on environmental aspects of the UP, organised by the Environmental Defence Society on 20 April. All of the presentations can be viewed on the EDS website.
Some comments by presenters and commentators relevant to Maungawhau are as follows:

  • We have the opportunity now to give feedback before the draft UP goes out for formal submissions.
  • There needs to be a clearer distinction between no-go areas, such as the volcanic view shafts, and local amenities which change over time. Also, should view shafts include those to the museum and Kawau, for instance?
  • The question of how to secure open space before rezoning needs to be addressed.
  • Identification of SEAs needs to be strengthened. The out-clause of "where possible" and "where appropriate" leaves potential for urbanisation.
  • There is a split between natural and cultural landscapes which is not helpful.
  • The category "public open space" is reserved for urban areas.
  • Regional parks are separated as precincts, not overlays. What are the implications?
  • The UP is supposedly "outcome-focussed" but it is not clear how the rules are meant to fit the anticipated outcomes. No ability to think outside the square.
  • Open space strategies sit outside the UP, which will make it difficult to provide open space in the future (Sandra Coney). Residents' access to small local parks needs to be protected in the UP, and feedback is needed on where to place open space plans (Penny Hulse).
  • The Resource Management Reform Bill further limits urban tree protection. Trees can still be nominated for protection, but more likely to be successful if the tree is on your property (because the council doesn't have to investigate).

Many thanks
Kit Howden

Caring for the volcanic heritage of Auckland

Kit Howden, Chair; April Glenday, Secretary; Jean Barton, Volunteers
Friends of Maungawhau
P.O. Box 10262, Dominion Road, Auckland 1446, New Zealand
Phone 0276671059 or 6301490