December 22, 2020
Owairaka tree defenders lost court challenge
Auckland’s Tūpuna Maunga Authority is welcoming support from the High Court for its plans to restore native vegetation on Ōwairaka/ Mount Albert.
The court yesterday found the authority had acted lawfully in deciding to remove 345 exotic trees from the mountain, also known as Te Ahi-kaÌ-a-Rakataura, and to plant 13,000 new native trees and shrubs.
It also found Auckland Council acted lawfully when granting the consent on a non-notified basis.
The decision will come as a blow to the applicants to Save the Maunga, which mounted an occupation to prevent contractors removing the trees.
Authority chair Paul Majurey says the court found the cultural, spiritual and ecological restoration of Ōwairaka / Mount Albert is a project that includes both the removal of exotic trees and restoration replanting.
He says the decision also acknowledges that the maunga are distinct from other parks and open spaces, in that they are wāhi tapu sites of immense spiritual, ancestral, cultural, customary, and historical significance to Mana Whenua.
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