Why Auckland’s maunga are so important

Ngā Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau: The ancestral mountains of Auckland

While people disappear, the land will always remain.

Toitū te whenua, whatu ngarongaro te tangata.

This Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori Newsroom reflects on one of the most significant Treaty of Waitangi settlements in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland in recent times – the return of 14 maunga to Mana Whenua. Known to most by their geological term ‘volcanic cones’, to Māori they are Ngā Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau; the ancestral mountains of Auckland.

I roto i tēnei Wiki o Te Reo Māori ka whaiwhakaaro ake mō tētahi o ngā tino taumata mō ngā tūmomo whakataunga take Tiriti ki Tāmaki Makaurau o ēnei wā arā ko te hokinga o ngā maunga tekau mā whā ki raro i te maru o ngā Mana Whenua.  Kua karangahia kē e te marea ko ngā puia koeko, erangi ki a ngai Māori ko Ngā Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau.

Most of us will have come across the term ‘pā’, the reo Māori word describing a fortified village settlement. Those with a sharp eye and a familiarity with the cultural history of Aotearoa / New Zealand might even recognise the pits, terraces and middens as the last surviving remnants of pā on several maunga across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Ko te nuinga o ngai tātou kua rongo i te kupu pā, arā ko te kupu Māori mō te papa tūwatawata.  Ko te hunga koi me te mārama ki ngā tohu ahurea o Aotearoa kua kite noa atu i ngā rua, i ngā parehua me ngā poka toetoenga mai o ngā pā o runga o ngā maunga puta noa a Tāmaki Makaurau.  

To the majority of visitors, though, the rich cultural history of these places remains a mystery.

Erangi ki te maha o te hunga manene ka noho hei kura huna aua rerenga kōrero o nehe.

According to some historians, human occupation of Tāmaki Makaurau goes back roughly 1000 years, when the arrival of Māori ancestral waka from the Pacific brought people who settled along the shores of the Manukau and Waitematā Harbours. The maunga were valued as highly strategic locations and over time were developed into the most extensive network of monumental and defendable settlements in Polynesia. The tūāpapa (terraces) on the maunga slopes provided surfaces for whare (houses), kāuta (cooking shelters) and rua (roofed storage pits). Deep trenches were dug and fences erected above them to protect the tihi (summit) which was the most sacred part of the maunga, occupied by the highest-ranking members of the iwi/tribe.

Ki ētahi o ngā mātanga kōrero o nehe ko tā te ira tangata noho ki Tāmaki Makaurau e hoki kē ana ki te kotahi mano tau ki muri ki te wā o te hekenga o ngai Māori kake waka mai te Moananui-ā-Kiwa me te nohonoho haere ki ngā takutai o ngā whanga o Manukau o te Waitematā hoki. He tino taonga hira ngā maunga mai te noho rautaki ka heke te wā ka tahuri te whanake hei kōtuitui mārō tohu maumahara papa tūwatawata puta noa Te Moananui-ā-Kiwa.  Ko ngā tūāpapa o ngā pānaki maunga hei tūnga whare, kāuta me ngā rua.  I keria ngā maioro i hangāia ngā taiepa hei ārai i ngā tihi hei nohonga mō ngā reanga whai mana o te iwi.    

The maunga enabled Tāmaki Makaurau to become an unparalleled centre of Māori social organisation and the most active nexus of complex inter-tribal relationships and connections, transit and trade in Māori society. They were places of settlement, agriculture, battles, marriages, birth and burial.

Nā aua maunga ka puta a Tāmaki Makaurau hei rohe kei tua o kapenga mō te pāpori ā-Māori tūhononga matatini ā-iwi ararau, me te tauhokohoko pakari rawa atu puta noa te ao Māori.  He wāhi nohonga, he papa ahuwhenua, he tūnga pakanga, he ātamira pākūhā, he tūnga whare ōhanga, he rua kōiwi ki ngā wā o mua.      

Each iwi holds its own individual traditions and oral histories associated with the maunga, from which they draw their identity.

Kei ia iwi ōna ake kaupapa ōna ake kōrero tuku iho e pā atu ana ki ia maunga e heke mai ai ō rātou tuakiri.

Today, the maunga are much changed. When Europeans arrived in Tāmaki Makaurau the maunga were immediately obvious as the highest places from which to survey and plan a city. Roads were eventually carved into the slopes, water reservoirs were sunk into the craters, farming infrastructure and grazing stock were introduced, and exotic trees were planted. Many of the maunga were quarried for building aggregate or encroached on by housing. Today many maunga are public parks.

I ēnei wā kua tahuri kē te āhua.  I te taunga mai o Ngai Pākehā ki Tāmaki Makaurau he tūhāhā te hanga o ngā maunga hei taumata mō ngā aromātai hanga mahere ā-taone.  Kā wawāhia ngā pānaki hei hanga huarahi i muri mai ka hangāia he hōpuni wai ki roto tonu ki ngā kororua, ka tukua ko ngā tūmomo ahoaho pūnaha ahuwhenua me ngā kararehe ahuwhenua kia whai wāhi tae atu ki ngā tūmomo rākau i whakatōhia.  He maha ngā maunga i keria mō ngā kirikiri hanga pūnaha ā me te hanga noa i ngā kāinga noho.  Tae mai ki ēnei rangi he papa tūmatawhānui te maha o aua maunga.  

Of the 40 known volcanic hill pā of Tāmaki Makaurau, 70 percent have been severely damaged or destroyed. In some cases, entire maunga have vanished. Takararo / Mt Cambria once stood as the third maunga on the Devonport Peninsula, near Takarunga / Mt Victoria. Originally 30 metres tall, it was quarried away between the 1880s to the 1980s. The site is now a local park known as Cambria Reserve.

Mai i ngā maunga puia whā tekau i mōhiotia ki Tāmaki Makaurau whitu tekau ōrau kua tīhahua kua murua rānei.  Ki ētahi wāhi kua ngaro oti atu te maunga katoa.  I tētahi wā ko Takararo te tuatoru o ngā maunga ki Kūrae o Devonport, pātata atu ki Takarunga.  He toru tekau mīta te ikeikei i tōna wā katahi ka keria mai te ngā tau 1880’s mō ngā tau kotahi rau.  Kua hurihia taua wāhi hei papa tākaro e karangahia ana ko te Papa Rāhui o Takararo. 

The majority of Tāmaki Makaurau maunga were alienated from Māori ownership following private and Crown land purchases in the 1840s. Despite this, the tribes of the region continued to draw their identity from the maunga and considered them to be imbued with mana (spiritual authority and prestige) and mauri (spiritual essence). To this day they are recognised as taonga tuku iho (treasures handed down the generations). 

Ko te maha o ngā maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau i mōriroriro mai te mana o ngai Māori mā roto o ngā kaupapa hoko whenua ā-Karauna ā-tūmataiti hoki i ngā tau 1880’s.  Ahakoa atu tēnei ka whai tonu ngā iwi o te rohe i o rātou tuakiri mai i aua maunga me te kī tonu he mana he mauri kei reira.  Ka tae mai ki ēnei wā ka tohe tonu he taonga tuku iho mārika.

Negotiations between Mana Whenua and the Crown on the ownership of the Tūpuna Maunga commenced in July 2009 and the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Collective Redress Deed of Settlement was signed in September 2012 following agreement by the 13 iwi/hapū of the Tāmaki Collective.

I tīmatahia ngā whiriwhiri i waenga i Ngā Mana Whenua me te Karauna mō te mana o ngā Tūpuna Maunga i te mārama o Hōngongoi o te tau 2009 kia oti ai he Puka Tatūnga o Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau hei waitohu i te Mahuru o te tau 2012 mā roto mai o ngā whakaae a ngā rōpū ā-hapū, ā-iwi hoki o Tāmaki Makaurau. 

In July 2014, the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 was passed. The Act vested the Crown-owned land of 14 Tūpuna Maunga in Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau, on the basis that they are held in trust for the common benefit of the iwi/hapū of Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau and the other people of Auckland. The 14 Tūpuna Maunga are:

I te Hōngongoi o te tau 2014 ka oti Te Ture Whakataunga Ngātahi o Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau 2014.  Nā taua Ture ka tohua ngā wāhanga ā-Karauna o ngā Tūpuna Maunga tekau mā whā ki Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau mā roto o te tohu kia tiakina tērā kia puta he hua ki ngā uri o ngā hapū me ngā iwi o Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau tae atu ki te tūmatawhānui o Tāmaki Makaurau.  E rārangi iho nei ngā maunga tekau mā whā katoa:   

Matukutūruru / Wiri Mountain

Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill

Maungarei / Mount Wellington

Maungawhau / Mount Eden

Maungauika / North Head

Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mount Albert

Ōhinerau / Mount Hobson

Ōhuiarangi / Pigeon Mountain

Ōtāhuhu / Mount Richmond

Puketāpapa / Pukewīwī / Mount Roskill

Rarotonga / Mount Smart

Te Kōpuke / Tītīkōpuke / Mount St John

Takarunga / Mount Victoria

Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King

(Te Pane o Mataaho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain and the Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill northern land ownership remains with the Crown but are administered through the Tūpuna Maunga Authority for the purposes of the Reserves Act 1977.)

[Ko Te Pane o Mataaho / Te Ara Pueru me Maungakiekie kei raro tonu i te mana o te Karauna erangi kei roto o ngā kaupapa here o Te Mana Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau i raro o Te Ture Whenua Rāhui 1977].

Perhaps it is poignant to note during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori that it was not until the redress settlement that the traditional and original names of these maunga have been officially recognised.  The Tūpuna Taonga o Tāmaki Makaurau Trust was set up to receive the cultural redress on behalf of the 13 iwi/hapū of the Tāmaki Collective.

Tērā pea he aronga hira kia puta ake ki roto o Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori mātua nā te tatūnga o te whakatau i hoki tūturu ai ki ngā ingoa motuhake o aua maunga.  I tohua ko Te Ohu Tūpuna Taonga o Tāmaki Makaurau hei pupuri i te puretumu ahurea mō te huinga ā-hapū ā-iwi hoki o Tāmaki Makaurau.

Karen Wilson is the Chair of the Tūpuna Taonga o Tāmaki Makaurau Trust.

Ko Karen Wilson te Ūpoko o Te Ohu Tūpuna Taonga o Tāmaki Makaurau.

“A key objective of the Trust is to ensure no further degradation or permanent loss of these important sites, and that they are managed in a manner that is consistent with the agreed Tūpuna Maunga Values,” she says. “The aim is to hand these taonga to the next generation in a better condition that what they were received.”

‘Ko tētahi o ngā tino whāinga o te Ohu ki kaua ano e pā he raru e ngaro oti atu rānei ēnei wāhi hira kia noho hāngai tonu ki ngā Mātāpono ā-Tūpuna Maunga,’ ko tana kī. Ko te arotahi kia piki ake te āhua ii tērā o te wā e hoki mai ai ina tukuna atu ki te reanga o āmuri ake nei.’

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority was established in 2014 to administer the 14 maunga under the Trust. Comprising equal representation from iwi and Auckland Council, a primary focus for the Authority is changing how the maunga are understood and appreciated.

He mea waihanga Te Mana Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau i te tau 2014 hei kawe kaupapa here mō ngā maunga tekau mā whā.  Taurite ana ngā tūranga ā-iwi, ā-Kaunihera hoki me tētahi tino whāinga ko te takahurihanga kia mārama kia aronui kē atu ki ngā maunga.

A key policy framework established by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority is the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan which embeds the values that will be applied consistently across all 14 maunga. The plan won the 2016 Resource Management Law Association 'Documentation Award' "for the compelling and evocative recording of the strategic direction for the management of the 14 Tūpuna Maunga".

Ko te anga kaupapa here matua kua tohua e te Mana Tūpuna Maunga ko Te Mahere Kaupapa Here Pāhekoheko e hāpai ana i ngā mātāpono kia taurite mō ia maunga o te rārangi tekau mā whā.  I tau te mahere ki te taumata o Te Tohu ā-Tuhinga a Te Ohu Ture Take Taiao o te tau 2016 mō ‘te pārekareka me te pūkare o ngā takotoranga mō te rautaki tohu huarahi mō ngā Tupuna Maunga tekau mā whā’.   

Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, explains.

E ai ki a Paul Majurey, te Ūpoko o Te Mana Tūpuna Maunga.   

“The settlement recognises that the Tūpuna Maunga are taonga in relation to which Mana Whenua have always maintained a unique relationship and it honours their intergenerational role as kaitiaki (guardians). For Mana Whenua the collective settlement provides a platform for the greater exercise of whanaungatanga (relationship through shared experience) and kotahitanga (unity) between the iwi/hapū of Tāmaki Makaurau.”

E tohu ana te whakataunga he taonga hira Ngā Tūpuna Maunga i whai tonuhia e ngā Mana Whenua ahakoa te aha me tō rātou hāpai tonu ia reanga i te tū a te kaitiaki.  Mai te whakatau ngātahi nei e toko ake ai te whanaungatanga me te kotahitanga ki waenga o ngai hapū ngai iwi rānei o Tāmaki Makaurau.’

“Importantly, they remain public spaces for everyone to enjoy. People can still visit and connect with the maunga in ways that are meaningful to them. Over time, through improvements such as the removal of motor vehicles from the tihi and educational initiatives, the Tūpuna Maunga Authority will bring a cultural sensitivity to the visitor experience,” says Majurey.

‘Tūturu ka noho wātea tonu mō ngā hiahia a te tūmatawhānui.  E āhei tonu ana te mātoro te hono atu hoki ki ngā maunga mā roto i ngā tūmomo āhua e rite ana ki a rātou.  A te wā ko ngā whanake pērā i te ārai waka mai ngā tihi me ngā kaupapa akoranga a Te Mana Tūpuna Maunga e toko ake ai te aronga ki te ahurea mō te wheako o te hunga manuhiri,’ e ai ki a Majurey.

Majurey says the Tāmaki Makaurau maunga are a precious part of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s history and there’s a need to preserve what remains of ancestral Māori occupation.

E ai ki a Majurey ko ngā maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau he taonga hira o te papa rahi o Aotearoa me ōna kōrero tuku katoa ā, me te whai kia pupuri tonu ki ngā toetoenga mai te ao o ngā wheinga.

“We are at the start of a transformational shift in the way we think about and treat these maunga – moving away from thinking about them as vantage points to understanding how important they are from a spiritual, cultural, heritage, landscape and archaeological perspective.”

Kei te tīmatatanga noa tātou o te takahurihanga o te āhua e aro atu ai tātou ki ngā maunga nei – kia waiho te āhua kua tohua i ngā wā o mua he taumata mātaki noa me te tahuri kē ki te whai ā-wairua, ā-ahurea, ā-taonga hira, ā-papa whenua me te tirohanga mātai whaipara tangata.

“Whatever your heritage, all Aucklanders can help protect these taonga and it starts with simply learning about the history and sharing what you’ve learnt with others.”  

‘Ahakoa he aha tō momo, ka āhei te katoa o ngā hunga o Tāmaki Makaurau ki te tiaki ēnei taonga mā te tīmata noa ki te ako i ngā kōrero tuku iho me te toha atu ii āu i mārama ai ki wētahi atu’.

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