The top of Maungawhau / Mt Eden may look slightly different the next time you get to the top. A new visitor boardwalk and viewing platform has recently been installed and offers a game-changing way to view the panoramic views of Auckland City and the Waitematā Harbour.
The boardwalk provides long-overdue protection for the historic features that are the last remnants of the pā which was built here around 1200AD and remained an active settlement complex for many centuries.
The boardwalk carefully winds through the tūāpapa (terraces) where the houses and gardens of the pā once sat, and the rua (pits) which were roofed for storing crops. Visitors can now appreciate these features without causing damage.
The previous crater track was last upgraded over ten years ago with aggregate that had since washed into the historic rua, leaving a network of uneven surfaces and deep ruts which were highly prone to erosion. In places the path had grown to a width of over six meters, and alternate tracks were scarring the terraces.
“With around 1.2 million people visiting Maungawhau every year, a better solution was needed to both protect the pā features and enhance the experience that visitors expect from one of the country’s most iconic Maunga,” says Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.
Minimal disturbance to the landscape was top priority in the boardwalk build. Foundation footings are screwed into the ground using a hand tool meaning no digging was required, and it’s a reversible technique - the foundations can be removed in the future leaving no trace that the structure was ever there. All materials can be fully recycled at the end of their life.
The boardwalk follows the contours of the Maunga and uses materials that will naturally weather over time and are permeable to the elements, allowing grass growth and ground stability beneath. Allowing the flow of air, water and light through the boardwalk also helps restore the wairua and mauri of Maungawhau.
Next time you plan your run or walk, make a heading for Mt Eden and check out the great new installation. Take a breathe at the elevated northern knoll of the Maunga which is where you can find the viewing deck which is sure to become the city’s most Instagrammable spot!
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