< March 2022 newsletter

Maunga Trees Safe - For Now

Auckland residents Averil and Warwick Norman have won an appeal against the Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA) decision to fell 345 exotic trees on Ōwairaka/Mt Albert.

The Court of Appeal found that the TMA’s plan breached the Reserves Act and didn't carry out appropriate consultation with the public. The decision also concluded Auckland Council acted unlawfully by not publicly notifying the tree felling resource consent.

See here for the Court’s full decision

In response to the judicial decision, the TMA has publicly signalled its intention to challenge the decision and/or effect a law change to undermine it. This means the trees’ long-term safety is not guaranteed.

Furthermore, the decision leaves the door open for the Authority to fell the trees in future, provided the consultation obligations are met. 

Problem goes way beyond Maunga tree issue

Anna Radford spokesperson for Honour the Maunga, the group campaigning to save the trees, said recently: 

"We are and have always been an environmentally-focused organisation but along the way have become aware of how the people of Aucklands’ voices are being not only ignored but actively silenced by many elected representatives - especially those on the Authority - and unelected parties”.

"This is a big problem that goes way beyond the Maunga tree issue," she says.

Ms Radford says the Authority has acted in very poor faith in many ways, including misleading the public about its true intentions for the Maunga, and deliberately weaponising and inflaming racial tensions to distract attention from its own behaviours.

"We are therefore highly sceptical that any future consultation about the trees will be in good faith or representative of true democracy by either the Authority or the Council”.

"The upcoming local body elections present an important opportunity to let the people of Tamaki Makaurau Auckland who care about the Maunga trees’ future to take action at the ballot box so that hopefully the next Mayor and elected representatives will treat the Auckland community and its natural environment with more integrity."

You can read previous comment at Newsroom: Anna Radford - The politically loaded issue of saving Auckland’s trees

Media Coverage

Stuff: Ōwairaka/Mt Albert tree removal: Court of Appeal rules in favour of protesters 

Voxy: Maunga tree protection group ends vigil - Honour the Maunga

Media Release by TMA: Tūpuna Maunga Authority considers implications of Court Decision on Ōwairaka / Mount Albert Native Vegetation Restoration

Go back to the March 2022 newsletter


Update on the fate of Auckland maunga trees

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority – a Treaty partnership body that equally comprises iwi and Auckland Council members - wants to rid Auckland’s volcanic cones (maunga) of all exotic trees - some 2500 in all. Continue reading

Citizens stand up to the Tūpuna Maunga Authority

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority* (TMA), who control Auckland’s 14 volcanic cones (tūpuna maunga), is once again causing consternation amongst the people of Auckland - this time by wielding its powers in a destructive and seemingly vengeful way. Waging utu on the exotics? The TMA has plans to remove 2,000 exotic trees from the 14 maunga, and is currently in the process of implementing its decision. Continue reading

Goff replies to complaint over the Tūpuna Maunga Authority – claiming no mandate to intervene

Last month we reported on the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Mākaurau Authority meeting of May 6, at which members of the public who made presentations were abused and berated by members of the authority. Please see below a copy of a media release by one of the presenters, outlining his concerns. Continue reading

Co-governance – the Trojan horse of iwi control

Some think co-governance is being nice and inclusive - but it's not working out that way in practice. All is not well in the co-governance arrangements we have been observing in Auckland. We have reported previously on how the citizens of Devonport have been treated by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority. This unfortunate state of affairs was reinforced at the Authority’s hui on May 6th. Continue reading

Devonport citizens continue the fight against autocratic decision-making

You may remember the protest in Devonport early last year, whereby a group of citizens pushed back on the Tupuna Maunga Authority’s (TMA) autocratic decision-making concerning Takuranga / Mt Victoria.  Continue reading

The Maori world view - 'military' style gates on Mt Albert

Users of Ōwairaka, the maunga in Auckland's Mt Albert, are objecting to the ‘military’ style gates designed to enforce the summit vehicle ban. Comments include words such as "hideous", "an atrocity", and “out of step with the place's natural beauty”. Continue reading

North Head now controlled by Tupuna Maunga Authority

As part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, 14 volcanic cones were given to 13 iwi and hapū of Auckland when the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Deed passed into law in 2014. North Head (Maungauika) is the last of these to come under the control of the Tupuna Maunga Authority (TMA) - when it was transferred from the Department of Conservation on January 18.  Continue reading

Maunga Authority Snubbing Local Community

For an example of what we can expect from a co-governance entity we need look no further than the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority here in Auckland. The Authority is presently imposing its car ban on Mt Victoria-Takarunga, with a minimum of consultation and all but ignoring the normal political channels for approving such a major change, according to Devonport based journalist Geoff Chapple, in an opinion piece published in the NZ Herald on 20th February: Continue reading

Draft Auckland Plan Subverts Democracy

In last month’s newsletter, we went into some detail about how the Draft Auckland Plan 2050 is promoting the subversion of our democracy by bestowing extra co-governance rights on a group of citizens based on race, and requiring the recognition of ‘mana whenua’ as rangatira (chief) in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Continue reading