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Monday, October 13, 2014

The word is out!

It's taken three years of work, two total redrafts, and many hours of debate and discussion among the "booklet team", but at last our book is printed and ready to face the reading public.

As you might guess from the title, Maungawhau: A Short History of Volunteer Action is a record of our history, campaigns and restoration work on Maungawhau. It also explores the many difficult issues involved in preserving and caring for volcanic cones, and argues for the legitimacy of our attempts to restore scoria-cone forest on land classed as an archaeological site.

The "booklet", as we've always called it, has grown into an absorbing and well produced 116-page illustrated book with maps, sketches and historical photos.

Preparation and production was funded by the ASB Community Trust. We thank the Trust for their patience and support.

Chapter 1 outlines the mountain's history and the founding of the Friends of Maungawhau in the 1980s. It discusses the dual reserve classification, Auckland Council's conflicting policies and plans, and FoM's role in the removal of buses from the summit and the cessation of grazing.

Chapter 2 describes the geology and ecology of Maungawhau, its vegetation history, weed problems, and the value of the mountain from the human perspective -- cultural landscape, open space, and viewing platform for visitors.

Chapter 3 takes a look at our practical volunteer work on the ground. It describes our revegetation efforts and the weeding and planting techniques we have developed for a uniquely steep, drought-prone, and unstable site. Five examples of Jean's weekly Tuesday reports (270 produced to date) make fascinating reading.

Chapter 4 discusses our education and advocacy roles as champions for better management and appreciation of volcanic landscapes. It argues that a professional, well-resourced ranger service for the cones is the only way that sustainable day-to-day management can ever be achieved.

Chapter 5 presents the challenges that we face as a volunteer group caring for the Maunga. It ends with the hope of greater inclusiveness and recognition of the knowledge held by the volunteer community with the advent of the new Council/iwi co-governance structure for the volcanic cones (a.k.a the Maunga Authority).

The five appendices include a statutory framework diagram and comprehensive plant species lists: a list of FoM's recommended native plants and a list of the main environmental weeds that have naturalised on Maungawhau.

The final pages include a bibliography, walking map and our vision statement.

The book is dedicated to renowned archaeologist Dr Sue Bulmer who has been a leading light in FoM and a feisty critic of past management policies and abuse of the Maunga.

So, if you've read this far and want to get your hands on a copy, come to our book launch or order a copy from us: The cost is $20 plus P&P ($3 within NZ).