Need a new challenge or want a unique way to explore Auckland? Climb all of Auckland’s Volcanoes, our maunga, to truly be an explore of Tamaki Makaurau.
Our volcanoes – maunga – are one of the things that make our landscape so unique; they also hold huge historical, spiritual and cultural significance to Auckland Māori.
For over 100,000 years Auckland’s volcanoes have been breaking open all over Tamaki Makaurau.
The familiar harbors surrounding Auckland were instead the “Manukau” and “Waitemata” Rivers. Several of the volcanoes which are now harbor inlets (Orakei Basin, Panmure Basin) or islands (Puketutu) actually erupted on to dry land.
The beautiful parks, reserves and open spaces in just about every suburb of Auckland are a vivid legacy of Auckland’s fiery and explosive past.
Thousands of years ago, a turbulent Auckland Volcanic Field threw up at least 50 cones of varying shapes and sizes, leaving a landscape of hills, valleys and basins. Today, as we walk, drive and cycle around our city, the landscape is a constant reminder of that ancient violent activity.
Pre-European Māori inhabitants of the isthmus saw Auckland’s cones as a wonderful natural asset. They provided defensive positions and refuge in times of danger, and the rich soil was ideal for cultivation. Estimates indicate Auckland supported several thousand residents, living on and around all the hill pā on the isthmus, with kumara plantations covering nearby fertile land.
Later, Pākehā settlers also saw the value of the volcanoes, quarrying the scoria cones and lava flows for material for buildings and civic structures like roads, walls, private and public buildings, and kerbstones – still a familiar feature of Auckland streets.
While some of the volcanoes have been irreparably damaged or even erased completely, most of those remaining are now preserved, and today Aucklanders enjoy easy access to the reserves, parks and walks on these maunga.
As they are important sites of historical, cultural and archaeological significance, visitors should be careful to keep to formed paths and tracks, and to avoid walking on or through sensitive features like the slopes, craters and obvious features, such as historic pits.