26.02.10 02:23 Age: 12 yrs

Kit Howden: Challenges for Maungawhau and the Heritage Parks of Auckland

By: Kit Howden

Maungawhau, Mt Eden stands at cross roads and a symbol of the lack of care of our heritage public parks and volcanic cones. We have over the years made so many good arguments and still no changes.

I attended a strategic planning session yesterday on the Volcanic Landscape of Auckland. This was attended by a multitude of planners, policy analysts and consultants and a few community volunteers like myself. The documents presented has wonderful words but many point to more plans, consultants etc. I have seen similar words and plans going back over a decade and still little action. Many citizens and organisations like Friends of Maungawhau and Volcanic Cones Society have made good suggestions over the years and still no action. It is not only little available funding. The weight of these top end plans, public officials, consultants and their costs shows the dysfunction of the government in relation to the delivery of park services on the ground.

The traffic to the summit of Maungawhau and commercial coaches that still operate [after a decade of trying to get changes] indicates the commercial exploitation of a public place. They make no contribution to the care of the Maunga. Facilities like the walking tracks continue to be poorly planned and managed considering the high use.

We have over the years made so many good arguments and still no changes.

On the other hand a positive move has been in getting the cattle removed. However the unprofessional system of Council has seen no real action on such measures like a professional fire plan and dealing with this International Year of Biodiversity. Also uncontrolled use continues and I receive more complaints about the ineffective Auckland City Council.

Ngati Whatua need more support as they have been active guardians over the years.

Kit Howden
Chairman Friends of Maungawhau
26 Feb 2010

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