Auckland residents are upset over the loss of an "iconic" cross that until recently sat on top of a mountain at Easter and Christmas.

The large cross on Mt Roskill's summit has been lit up on the two occasions for nearly 60 years.

New Windsor resident Emily Crozier was devastated to hear this year that the structure would not be erected.

"I couldn't believe it. It's been there for so many generations and now it's gone, it's just sad."

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Crozier said it was something of a landmark and people enjoyed seeing it illuminated before Easter.

The cross was removed for a brief time in 2015 following discussions with the Tūpuna Maunga Authority - an authority independent from Auckland Council - and local board members, but made a comeback the same year.

The decision to bring the cross back applied up until Easter 2017, when it would be reviewed.

Tūpuna Maunga Authority chair Paul Majurey confirmed the plinth and pole on the summit that provided the structure for the Christmas Star and Easter Cross had been removed.

Majurey said it had been removed to reinstate the summit and return it to a fully grassed area.

"This work is nearing completion and encompasses the removal of the upper ring road to return the tihi (summit) to a pedestrian-only area, and the removal of infrastructure including fences and the plinth and pole."

He said representatives of the combined churches of Mt Roskill and the Pukektāpapa Local Board were aware of the decision, which was made in the public meeting of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority November last year.

David Hay, who served as Mt Roskill's mayor in the 1980s, felt it was a disappointing decision, as it was part of the area's heritage.

"I went out to buy hot cross buns the other day and a woman came up to me and said, 'Have you heard the cross isn't going up?' That was sad to hear."

Hay emphasised the cross was something a lot of residents enjoyed, not just those who were religious. "It was a bit of an icon, and you could see it for miles coming down the road."

He said he hoped the cross could be reinstated at a lower point on the mountain.

A Tūpuna Maunga Authority spokesperson said the cross beams that make up the Cross/Star were not owned by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, and were held and stored by representatives of the churches of Mt Roskill.

He said questions around alternative locations for the cross within Mt Roskill would have to be directed to Mt Roskill church leaders and the Pukektāpapa Local Board.