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Guy Fawkes: Maunga Closures A Success, Though Fireworks Risk Ever-Present

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority thanks the people of Tāmaki Makaurau for the overwhelming support in protecting the iconic Maunga during the 2020 Guy Fawkes season.

From 2-8 November, the Maunga were closed to the public each evening with the support of Mana Whenua and volunteers who assisted Authority staff and security personnel.

The closures were put in place after fireworks caused massive fires at Maungarei / Mt Wellington and Maungawhau / Mt Eden on Guy Fawkes night last year, and several other fires in the following months.

The need for the closures, however, were reinforced by the behaviour of some individuals on several Maunga who were caught attempting to breach the closure and in the act of attempting to light fireworks.

These reckless and selfish behaviours show the Maunga will always remain at risk of blazes caused by fireworks for so long as fireworks are publicly available.

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

“We received significant on the ground support for the closures and people were pleased that action was being taken to prevent further massive fires on the Maunga.”

“Unfortunately, security staff encountered a number of incidents where people were trying to scale fences with the intention of lighting fireworks on the Maunga. Sadly, despite all the past fire damage and all the publicity there are still individuals who are wilfully ignoring the Maunga fireworks restrictions and are deliberate in their attempt to place the Maunga at risk or fire.”

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“This behaviour reinforces the firm line needed to be taken to protect the ancestral Maunga, and the Authority’s public stance that the public sale of fireworks should be banned.”

While visitation to the Maunga will be back to normal over the next week, there will continue to be a security presence to minimise the risk of fires from fireworks.

The protection of the Tūpuna Maunga did not come without a cost. While the final numbers are to be collected, there will not be a lot of change out of $100,000. That is a direct cost caused by the public availability of fireworks, and this does not include the costs across the nation caused by fireworks damage. 

In August this year the Authority expressed disappointment in the parliamentary governance and administration select committee’s failure to ban the public sale of fireworks.

“We feel the select committee had a responsibility to take a leadership role and remove fireworks from those who aren’t capable of using them sensibly, while still allowing the public to enjoy controlled public fireworks displays.

It’s extremely disappointing they did not do that,” says Majurey.

“Once again we call on the government to ban the public sale of fireworks well in advance of Guy Fawkes 2021.

It is also time for the government to show leadership by replacing the outdated and irrelevant Guy Fawkes Day with a celebration that has significance to Aotearoa New Zealand. Matariki is the obvious choice.”

Visit for more information about the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.

© Scoop Media

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