Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao, Mauao's Joint Administration Board, has decided not to approve the use of sport rock climbing routes on Mauao.

The decision, made at a board meeting on July 22, came in response to an application by the rock-climbing community to be granted permission to climb on specified routes on the maunga, according to a media statement this morning.

The board's decision was made in line with the Mauao Historic Resource Management Plan, which said the board must consider the effects on a rare fern, wāhi tapu sites and public safety.

The board held overall concerns about the health and safety of the activity to climbers and other users of the maunga.

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In addition, the board decided it did not support the drilling of new holes. New holes are periodically required by climbers to allow the replacement of climbing bolts/anchors to ensure sport climbing can continue to be undertaken safely.

The board found this practice to be unacceptable due to its invasive nature, which went against the Board's responsibility to protect the cultural and spiritual values of the maunga.

Board chairman, Dean Flavell, said the board is responsible for protecting Mauao, and other users by ensuring that it is safe for everyone to enjoy.

"Although we understand the disappointment this decision will cause the rock-climbing community, we had ongoing safety concerns, which could not be addressed to the Board's satisfaction.

"We feel this decision safeguards the vast number of users of Mauao and fulfils our responsibility to protect the historical, cultural and ecological values of the maunga."