11.06.09 19:43 Age: 9 yrs

Mt Eden Cattle to be Removed Permanently

By: Kit Howden

In a historic moment for Maungawhau/Mt Eden it has been announced that cattle will be removed from the Maunga permanently.

At the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee of Auckland City Council I spoke and supported the officers and Chairman's recommendation on the implementation of the Maungawhau Management Plan.

Cattle will now be permanently removed from Maungawhau therefore implementing one important management plan policy.

The resolutions also gave approval for a wide range of activities to improve one of New Zealand's most popular heritage sites. See the recommendations below
The decisions of 10 June 2009 are based on the following:

  1. Removal of cattle will better protect the archaeological site and help prevent erosion

  2. Will now abide by DOC guidelines for managing archeological sites

  3. Acknowledges the increasing use and carrying capacity issues that there are limits on urban conservation parks. Maungawhau can no longer have 1.2 million people using the site plus cattle.

  4. Supports mana whenua  of Ngati Whatua

  5. Enables Friends of Maungawhau volunteer programme to proceed with more purpose and direction.

  6. The decisions may encourage the Council to move away from the costly "mowing and blowing techniques"  into more sustainable ecological methods of managing urban conservation parks.

  7. Supports a citizen based management structure where volunteers, park officers, Iwi and contractors can work together to improve the management of Maungawhau and set a management model for the other volcanic cones.

  8. Cautiously deals with the tourist, visitor centre, bus and traffic issues. More needs to be done here.

The decision is also significant in that Maungawhau has possibly been grazed from the early days of European settlement - about 180 years which could be one of the longest grazed areas of NZ, making this a historic moment.

Peter Linton the present grazer and his father before him have grazed it for over 40 years. He also has contract grazing on other volcanic cones and spends many volunteer hours caring for the livestock - there's not much profit if any.

Grazing of parks using 4 legged lawn mowers is a sophisticated activity however as recreation and other use increases the conflicts grow; - park management becomes harder requiring new policies, additional resources, well trained staff and rangers.

It is essential that Auckland has a professional Park Ranger or Kaitiaki Service within the One Council and new governance structure in Auckland .

This has yet to be implemented on many of the volcanic cones of greater Auckland and it is hoped that this will be an important structure that the Transitional Group is considering for the new City.

Recommendations from the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee ACC on 10 June 2009

  1. That the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee note that officers continue to implement the Maungawhau-Mt Eden (2007) including improvements to the visitor experience and the management of vegetation on the mountain.

  2. That the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee note that officers initiated the Expression of Interest process for the redevelopment of the tea kiosk building into a café/interpretation centre in February 2009, and that any potential redevelopment of the building needs to support iwi aspirations for the mountain (as per the joint management model proposed in the 2006 Agreement in Principle between Ngati Whatua o Orakei and Auckland City Council).

  3. That the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee note that officers are proceeding with options for the removal of heavy traffic from Puhi Huia Road to the summit, improvements to the signage/ track network and summit upgrade and will update the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee in September 2009

  4. That the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee endorse the permanent removal of cattle from May 2009 from Maungawhau/Mt Eden, to enable more appropriate management and protection of the mountain's archaeological features, ecological, geological and cultural heritage, and to enable the signage/ track network and summit upgrade work streams to progress as planned in 2009/10

  5. That the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee note that the increased maintenance cost associated with the permanent removal of cattle, estimated at $100,000 per annum for the first five years, will be funded through reallocation of existing operational budgets

The Friends of Maungawhau are holding a public planting this Sun 14 June meeting at the end of Batger St at 10.00am.

If there is interest there will be guide walk at 1.30 pm to show how the Mountain may be managed without live stock.

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