Pūriri, nīkau, kōwhai, kāramuramu (coprosma) and wharariki (mountain flax) are just some of the native species planted by Māngere Bridge community volunteers on Te Pane o Mataoho/Te Ara Pūeru /Māngere Mountain during this year’s planting season.
Working with the Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA), some 40 volunteers braved a gloomy morning to plant almost 3000 natives on a previously modified slope above the Māngere Bridge Scout Hall.
‘Previously modified’ means that the underlying archaeological fabric has already been altered, e.g., by quarrying or bulldozing.
The impressive planting number was reached despite a thunderstorm cutting the session short. TMA conservation advisor Jordan Winiata says, ‘We’ve had to wait two years to plant this site due to COVID-19 and that makes us all the more stoked about the 3000 new plants. They bring the total planted on this Maunga over four planting seasons to 20,000.’
Reinstating the ecosystem
The young natives contribute to reinstating and reconnecting the ecology and biodiversity of the Maunga.
‘Our planting is done with the utmost respect for the archaeological and cultural values of the Maunga,’ says TMA Kaiwhakahaere Nick Turoa. ‘We interweave culturally significant planting – for rongoā (traditional medicine), raranga (weaving), whakairo (carving), and kai – to help retain mātauranga Māori.’
The planting restores a WF7 ‘Pūriri forest’ ecosystem which is not only endangered, but also represents the ngāhere (forest) that tūpuna would have experienced when they lived on the Maunga. Thriving in volcanic soil, this ecosystem once covered much of Auckland’s volcanic field.
Restoration and beyond
Both Jordan and Nick are quick to credit their teammates’ mahi, which has seen tracks significantly upgraded to protect the Maunga and will see the opening of a ground-breaking whānau ātea (family space) in the days before Christmas.
Future community volunteer planting and restoration days will be needed to help the TMA team maximise the biodiversity and ecological connections with the Maunga.
If you’re interested in volunteering for planting days in 2023, please email maungavolunteers@ aucklandcouncil.govt.nz