In mid-January I had the pleasure of joining Mayor Phil Goff and Councillor Richard Hills as guests of the the Tūpuna Maunga Authority for a tour of Maungauika-North Head. Councillor Alf Filipaina was also there in his capacity as Tūpuna Maunga Authority deputy chair. Members of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority team took us on a tour of Maungauika-North Head to look at the great work being done for events coinciding with the 36th America’s Cup.
Visitors to Maungauika-North Head during the 36th America’s Cup are able to discover murals, temporary sound and light installations in the historic defence tunnels, pop-up artist studios, a Hikoi Mai Hikoi Atu (a guided walk of the maunga) led by local Māori Performing Arts Group HIWA, performances, and interactive activities such as Rāranga (weaving) workshops, traditional kite-flying, and more. Kai stalls will also be at the tihi (summit).
I came away from this tour once again blown away by the passion of all the staff involved. As an (newly) elected official I so often hear people banging on about all the problems of council and the not so positive things. What we need to hear more about is the wonderful things that are going on – and there are many. Most of these wonderful things are being driven by passionate staff within council and related organisations. The Tūpuna Maunga Authority is one of those.
With the 36th America’s Cup event I have been impressed with the collaboration between council and Auckland Unlimited (formerly ATEED) with entities such as the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, and with local business associations and commercial partners to bring great events together for the Devonport-Takapuna area. They have had to do this despite coping with the curve balls thrown up by Covid-19, such as slashes in budgets etc.
In terms of 36th America’s Cup related events for our Devonport-Takapuna area we have the fabulous Waterbourne Festival in Takapuna (collaborating with a commercial partner and the Takapuna Beach Business Association); the Devonport ‘Race Days by the Sea’ initiative (collaborating with an event organiser and Devonport Business Association); the Sunsetter Food, Wine & Music Festival at Smales Farm (collaborating with a commercial partner); and the Love Your Maunga ki Maungauika celebration (collaborating with the Tūpuna Maunga Authority). These events all fall under Auckland Unlimited’s ‘Summernova' initiative.
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority sees the 36th America’s Cup event as a great opportunity for people to connect with the maunga in a way they will not have experienced before. If you’re looking for the ideal vantage point on Cup race days, you'll find it at the tihi (summit) of Maungauika-North Head, with its stunning panoramic views over the Waitematā Harbour and the Cup racecourses. You can also grab a bite to eat from the kai stalls, find a spot on the grass, and enjoy. There is something for all taste buds but definitely try out the traditional Māori hāngi, and stick around for a hāngi cooking display on key race days. Coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages are available. Maungauika-North Head is an alcohol-free space though.
The Tūpuna Maunga authority have had responsibility of Maungauika-North Head for about 18 months and are doing a fantastic job.
Tūpuna Maunga Authority Chair Paul Majurey explained the opportunity when announcing the 36th America’s Cup related initiative. "We are expecting a lot of people to visit Maungauika during the Cup races for the unbeatable views over the Waitematā harbour. That connection between land and water at Maungauika is exceptional within the Tāmaki Makaurau Maunga network, so what better way to host our manuhiri than through a celebration of Papatūānuku and Tangaroa through the lens of Te Ao Māori. Visitors always leave the Love Your Maunga events with a better appreciation of the mana of the Maunga and the values of manaakitanga (hospitality), kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and kotahitanga (unity). We are looking forward to sharing those values with manuhiri during this next series of events."
Providing our mid-January guided tour and explanations of initiatives in place for the event programme for Love Your Maunga ki Maungauika were Thomas Rawiri, the Visitor Experience Co-ordinator at Tūpuna Maunga Authority; Auckland Council’s Event Organiser Sammy Johnston; Paris Kirby; Director and Arts Co-ordinator of Social Ritual; Amiria Puia-Taylor; Director and Arts Co-ordinator of The People Weaver; and Nettie Norman, Director of HIWA and organiser of the guided hikoi and performance group. Every one of them is passionate and dedicated to providing a great experience for attendees.
“Our relationships to place are transformed when we come together with a shared vision. This project has empowered artists to take the lead in communicating the maunga as integral to identity and sense of belonging in Tāmaki Makaurau,” explains Paris Kirby.
"It is an honour to help highlight the importance of working together through creativity, cultural identity and storytelling,” adds Amiria Puia-Taylor. "This event is a chance to demonstrate Te Titiri ō Waitangi in action through our Māori artists, designers and performers who share a whakapapa to this special place, connecting with local communities."
Visitors to Maungauika-North Head during the pre-Christmas 36th America’s Cup racing were able to enjoy this experience and there will be another opportunity during the March Cup finals period. Once again there will be a series of performance-based one-hour guided walks led by HIWA. The organising team explain this as: "You'll be taken on a journey through time to experience the mauri life force of Maungauika as a waahi tapu, a sacred maunga here in the heart of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Woven into a visual, audio and movement based tapestry for all to enjoy, learn and fill your kete matauranga (baskets of knowledge) with something new on this one hour guided hikoi and experience Maungauika as you’ve never seen before.”
Well done to Auckland Unlimited and all the entities bringing events together for the summer of the 36th America’s Cup. Make sure you get along to Maungauika-North Head during America’s Cup racing in February and March, and also catch the other events happening in Devonport and Takapuna. Many are featured in this issue of Channel Magazine. For more info visit: www.summernova.co.nz
Aidan Bennett, QSM
Chair, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board