15.11.10 20:53 Age: 7 yrs

A Mountain Close to Home


Grazed, burnt, hacked and trampled upon -- Mt. Eden's recent fate has been no worse than most of Auckland's volcanic cones.

Yet the Friends of Maungawhau find cause to celebrate its heritage on Love Your Mountain Day, Sunday December 12.

"It's a special day for Aucklanders to enjoy our iconic maunga and learn about its history," says conservationist Kit Howden.

Mr Howden represents a small group of volunteers who are painstakingly ridding the mountain of weeds and revegetating its quarried and eroded slopes.

Since stock grazing ceased last year, both weeds and natives have emerged. The challenge is to promote natural regeneration and clear invasive weeds while protecting archaeological features.

On Love Your Mountain Day, visitors will be encouraged to abandon their cars and take advantage of the free-of-charge admission to Government House grounds and Eden Garden. Gates will be open from 10am to 4pm.

Free walking tours of the summit pa site, led by Tamaki Hikoi, and fascinating displays at the old Tea Kiosk (the former Langtons Restaurant) are offered too.

"We hope people will walk right round the mountain, through the new track on the western slope to view the restored native vegetation. It's been a transformation," says Mr Howden.

But there's a long way to go. Weeds and neglect are a constant threat. As part of Love Your Mountain Day, the public are invited to express their vision of Maungawhau's future. The Friends seek people's views on the vegetation in particular -- natives, exotics, fruit trees and understory plants.

For more information, contact info(at)[dot]nz

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