Upgrades unveiled when the Waitākere slopes reopen

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Two tracks in the Waitākere Ranges in west Auckland reopen today after being closed to protect the region’s kauri forests.

The view from the Ōmanawanui trail in the Waitākere Ranges.
Photo: Auckland Council

The Ōmanawanui Trail and the Puriri Ridge Trail have also been upgraded with thousands of steps and hundreds of meters of boardwalk being installed.

A Maori name is also introduced on the Hillary Trail.

Auckland Council said the 6km upgrade is a big step in reopening the trail which will also be known as Te Ar Tūhura.

It reconnects a multi-day trail from the Karamatura Valley to Anawhata.

The council closed many trails in 2018, following a rāhui placed by iwi over the ngahere (forest) of the Waitākere Ranges.

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Edward Ashby, director of Te Kawerau Iwi Holdings, said today’s reopening was part of a larger effort to open up the ranges.

He said the Hillary family made significant contributions to the trail and that the donation of the name te reo Te Ar Tūhura was a cooperative branding effort.

“What we wanted to do was not take that away, but also raise or bring kura mahi, the Maori element, to the Waitākere Ranges.

No legend

The view from a new walk on the Ōmanawanui trail.
Photo: Auckland Council

The council and the iwi urge people to take care of the forest.

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“It has always been about protecting and caring for the forest both for its own good, so future generations can come here and enjoy this taonga for years to come,” Ashby said.

Upgrades include installing:

  • 2.5 km of boxed walks – 2,420 individual walks on Ōmanawanui trail and another 700 on Puriri ridge
  • 700m walk
  • 1,070 tonnes of gravel were airlifted into the area
  • 237 elevators of wood and materials
  • new gazebo on the highest point offering 360 degree views
  • innovative track without digging and floating walks around pā

“It was tough work,” said senior ranger Stu Leighton.

“The narrow ridges of these trails and the steep terrain made construction difficult. A particular highlight was the design of the path around the historic Pā site on the Omanawanui Trail.

Mayor Phil Goff said it was fantastic to see the slopes open up again for Aucklanders to enjoy.

“Aucklanders and visitors love the Waitākere Ranges and West Auckland hiking trails and I am so excited to be able to open two more today,” he said.

The slopes must open at noon.

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