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Illegal bike tracks carved into historic Takarunga

Illegal bike tracks carved into historic Takarunga / Mt Victoria

Three tracks have been carved illegally into the northern slopes of Takarunga / Mt Victoria in the Auckland suburb of Devonport, causing extensive damage.

The disturbed area is previously unmodified, meaning it is the original form of the maunga (mountain) dating to the historic Māori pā settlement once present there.

The tracks are 12 meters, 20 meters and 25 meters in length, are up to one meter wide and up to 40 centimetres deep in parts. At one section the path traverses a historic pā terrace and there is also evidence of disturbed midden, or ancient shell deposits dating to the pā site.

Given the historic significance of Takarunga, any illegal modification is prosecutable under the Reserves Act 1977 and the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.

The damage has been reported to Heritage New Zealand.

Similar damage occurred at another Auckland maunga and historic pā site, Ōtāhuhu / Mt Richmond, in October 2018.

Nick Turoa, Tūpuna Maunga Authority Operations Manager says the tracks at Takarunga appear to have been carved deliberately for mountain biking.

“The configuration of the tracks and the excavation of dirt to construct ramps and berms on downward slopes suggest mountain bikers have undertaken these illegal activities.”

“It is utterly disappointing that there are people who would desecrate this ancestral maunga and taonga with complete disregard to the history and cultural and archaeological significance,” says Turoa.

“Tūpuna Maunga Authority staff and contractors will be closely monitoring all activity occurring on Takarunga, and in particular mountain biking.”

“Visitors to the maunga are welcome to cycle on sealed road surfaces but off-road biking is strictly prohibited on all areas of the maunga,” says Turoa.

“We have a zero-tolerance of unauthorised digging on the maunga and anyone found responsible for such activity will be prosecuted. We are seeking information from anyone who might know something about this.” Anyone with information about these tracks is encouraged to contact the Tūpuna Maunga Authority at MaungaAuthority@aklc.govt.nz or 09 301 0101.

Visit www.maunga.nz for information about the Tūpuna Maunga Authority and to read the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan.

ENDS

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