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Closures needed for restoration of Te Uru Karaka historical grove on Mauao

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Toku maunga, tō maunga. My mountain is your mountain.

Regular users of Mauao can expect to see some changes happening to the maunga (mountain) early next month.

Unknown to many, the Te Ara Motukauri track (4WD track) was once home to early tangata whenua. This site, situated on the Pilot Bay side of Mauao, is called Te Uru Karaka, and is a historic Pā site.

Te Uru Karaka is located on the Pilot Bay side of the maunga. The historic Pā site is easily identified by the prominent terraced area facing Mount Maunganui.

Locals may recognise the large pine and macrocarpa trees visible from the track, however, these trees are threatening the ancient karaka trees and archaeological sites which they share the land with.

"The pine and macrocarpa trees sit on sensitive archaeological sites and are showing significant signs of deterioration which, if left unattended, these trees could damage the site," said Tauranga City Council Manager: Parks and Recreation, Warren Aitken.

An ancient karaka tree sits in front of a decaying pine tree. The pine tree will be removed via helicopter to prevent any potential damage to the karaka.

Josh Clark, Advisor: Natural Environment (Mauao) said that given the sensitive nature of the site the trees are sitting on, it’s important that damage is kept to a minimum during the removal process.

To do this, the trees will be lifted out by helicopter. This means no wood will be cut down onto the site and the culturally significant karaka trees growing under the pine and macrocarpa trees, will be preserved.

This work has been prioritised in line with the 2018 Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan, which specifies that exotic trees are to be progressively removed from Mauao given its status as a special ecological area.

In order for these works to take place and to maintain public safety, some closures will be needed.

Full closure of Mauao - from 5am Wednesday, 8 June until 5pm Thursday, 9 June 2022 Pilot Bay boat ramp and car park closure - from 7am Tuesday, 7 June until 5pm Wednesday, 15 June 2022 (may open earlier depending on progress of works).

Access to the maunga from Pilot Bay will be maintained from Friday, 10 to Wednesday 15 June 2022.

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