Auckland volcanoes up for heritage status again

By Yvonne Tahana

Kate Wilkinson. Photo / Supplied
Kate Wilkinson. Photo / Supplied

Auckland's volcanic field is again being mooted for Unesco World Heritage status after the Government reignited work that was stalled by Treaty negotiations.

New Zealand has three sites with the designation - Tongariro National Park, Sub Antarctic Islands and Te Wahipounamu, which includes Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fiordland, Mt Aspiring and Westland.

The volcanic field was tagged in 2007 for nomination, but it was put on the back burner while the Crown Treaty negotiations involving the maunga were ongoing.

Now Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson have agreed to get the process back on the rails. Mr Finlayson said a feasibility study had started.

"A successful nomination would generate World Heritage tourism, [and] promote better recognition and protection of heritage in Auckland," he said.

"For iwi it would increase the mana of the cones."

Auckland Volcanic Cones Society spokesman John Street said the decision to work towards status was a good one as past city authorities had not worked on protection.

"In all the years of operation the Auckland City Council didn't give them any protection," he said.

The move comes as the Auckland Council meets Mr Finlayson, who is also Treaty Negotiations Minister, today to quiz him on what a Treaty settlement involving the 11 volcanic cones could cost ratepayers, and the membership of a new iwi/council co-governance board.

The deal was signed last year with multiple iwi known as the Tamaki Collective, but is yet to be legislated.

Mr Finlayson would not be drawn on the costs, which are still being negotiated.

"The Government is very conscious of putting costs on to local government," he said.

Tamaki Collective chairman Paul Majurey said 13 member tribes would be attending the meeting as observers.

He would not be drawn on negotiation specifics but said the new method would be far superior to the current "ad hoc" approach to management.

"What is fundamental to us is the protection of the tupuna maunga [ancestral mountains]."

Mayor Len Brown said it was important that the Government presented the details of what it was negotiating on behalf of the people of Auckland.

COST VS CULTURE

* Potential World Heritage status

* Auckland Council to meet Treaty Negotiations Minister today to quiz him about costs for a treaty deal involving these volcanic cones/maunga:

* Maungakiekie One Tree Hill

* Maungawhau Mt Eden

* Puketapapa Mt Roskill

* Te Kopuke Mt St John

* Maungarei Mt Wellington

* Takarunga Mt Victoria

* Otahuhu Mt Richmond

* Te Pane o Mataoho Mangere Mt

* Ohuiarangi Pigeon Mt

* Ohinerau Mt Hobson

* Te Tatua a Riukiuta Big King

- NZ Herald

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