24.03.06 15:35 Age: 12 yrs

Buses rule on Mt Eden

Category: Media

By: Ian Fish

The following article appeared in the NZ Herald following the cancellation of the inaugural 'Love Your Mountain Day' on Maungawhau Mt Eden.

A celebration of Mt Eden as a heritage site planned for today has been called off because of bus tours.

Maungawhau Volunteers, who were hoping to keep the reserve free of all vehicles for the day, cancelled at the 11th hour after they were told operators were bound by contracts to take clients up the mountain on the same day.

"We're upset," said group spokesman Kit Howden, who spent six weeks helping to organise the event, only to have talks with Auckland City Council and the Bus and Coach Association fall short of what was needed.

He said a vehicle-free day was needed for a safe environment for the day's activities, including guided walks.

"But there may be up to 40 tourist buses driving to the summit on Saturday, mainly for tourists on cruise ships.

"The road is the main way to walk up and it's hazardous for walkers when large numbers of buses are present."

Bus and Coach Association executive director John Collyns said he was sympathetic. "But we have contracts in place to take people up Mt Eden, a premier tourist spot in Auckland."

Maungawhau Volunteers now plans to hold a small protest today, starting at 10am, over tourist buses not having contracts with the council to run tours.

Mr Howden said: "Public heritage space is being used with no return for the commercial impact."

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