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Fireworks discovery sparks renewed fears for Auckland’s iconic maunga

August 21, 2020

Fireworks discovery sparks renewed fears for Auckland’s iconic maunga

Fire damage to Te Pane o Mataoho/Māngere Mountain caused by fireworks in 2019. PHOTO: (TŪPUNA MAUNGA AUTHORITY).

Auckland’s volcanic maunga are at serious risk of further fire damage according to their governing body, after an assortment of fireworks were discovered at the summit of Maungarei/Mt Wellington yesterday.

The fireworks found include a Roman Candle and a fountain, known for emitting a shower of sparks directly onto the surrounding ground.

Paul Majurey, chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, says that the discovery has confirmed his fears for the maunga as another fireworks season approaches.

“It’s just pure luck this didn’t result in yet another blaze,” says Mr Majurey.

A number of maunga have suffered serious damage as a result of fireworks in the last few years, including a particularly devastating fire on Maungarei/Mt Wellington in April.

Earlier this week, a government select committee voted not to recommend a ban on the sale of fireworks.

The governance and administration select committee heard from the SPCA, Auckland Council, New Zealand Police and a public petition from over 28,000 people.

However, the committee voted against recommending any changes to the current law, citing the business interests of fireworks retailers as a major factor.

Cathy Casey, Auckland Councillor, says the decision not to recommend a ban puts Auckland’s maunga at risk.

“The only way to protect our precious taonga is by banning the sale of fireworks to the public,” Councillor Casey says.

Another fire would be devastating to Maungarei/Mt Wellington according to Mr Majurey.

“While the grass regrows, there are permanent scars on the remaining vestiges of these monumental fortified pā that are extremely important to mana whenua,” he says.

“There is archaeological fabric that is destroyed forever, there are wāhi tapu that are destroyed.”

Since the fires on Maungarei/Mt Wellington in April, the Tūpuna Maunga Authority has decided to close the maunga to the public for all future Guy Fawkes events.

“It’s a drastic step,” says Mr Majurey. “But it’s one we have to take to protect these iconic taonga.”

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