What's special about Mangere Mountain
Remains of a thriving early Polynesian settlement
You can see the remains of what was once an extremely large 18th century Maori pa (fortified settlement). Low stone walls radiate out from the base of the mountains, the remnants of the Maori land boundaries that once divided the landscape into large pie-shaped pieces, marking out gardens, houses and other living areas. There are scores of house and garden terraces, walled garden mounds and stone boundary walls inside the crater and kumara storage pits.
The local hapu, Waiohua, centred around Makaurau marae, are the direct descendants of the people who built all the big fortified settlements on the Auckland isthmus before the arrival of the Ngati Whatua from the Kaipara in the late 18th century.
City sitting on a volcanic field
Mangere is one of the 47 volcanic cones that dot the Auckland isthmus, expressions of the active volcanic field that lies underneath Auckland's urban sprawl. The cone's volcanic features are clearly visible.
All the cone mounds were sought-after Maori settlement sites, both because of their commanding views (helping protect villages from attack) and fertile volcanic soils. The warm, friable volcanic soils were well suited in New Zealand's temperate climate for growing tropical Polynesian crops like kumara, taro and gourds.
Education and interpretation centre
The Mangere Mountain Education Centre is located on the eastern side of Mangere Mountain. it is a place where people of all ages can learn about the mountain and its people. The Centre is a non-profit organisation administered by the Mangere Mountain Education Trust, an Auckland Council CCO (Council controlled organisation).
Visit the Centre to enjoy its collection of artefacts and displays, illustrating the volcanic formation of the mountain, and the life of its Maori inhabitants over the centuries since the first migrations from Hawaikii.
Guided walks and practical workshops are available for schools, clubs and groups with an interest in learning more about the mountain. Individual visitors and families can visit the Centre and explore the Mountain.
A series of cast iron and basalt sculptures by Auckland sculptor Steve Woodward is part of a interpretative walk on the mountain.
The 100 ha Otuataua stonefields nearby are one of the few remnants of an original 8000ha of volcanic stonefields in the Auckland area, all intensively cultivated by early Maori settlers. The stones flung out in successive volcanic eruptions were used to demarcate garden plots and to warm the soil, extending the growing season for tropical crops like taro and kumara by one month.
Planning a visit
Take the Mangere Bridge exit off the motorway across Manukau Harbour. Follow the signs to Mangere Bridge township and continue down Coronation Road. Turn right into Domain Road to go to a parking area on the slopes of Mangere Mountain, or take a right turn further down Coronation Street into the old quarry site where the Mangere Mountain Education Centre is located.
There are toilets and shelter by the sports fields but no shops or other facilities. These are opened by pre-arrangement. Talk to the Centre for more information.
Auckland Council guided programme
The Auckland Council currently offers guided programmes on the mountain. Find further information on the Volcanic Discovery programme and other Learning Through Experience education programmes.
A pre-trip visit to the site by the trip leader is recommended to enable the best experience for your class on the day.
What you need to bring
- Good walking shoes, warm clothes and wind and rain protection. Hat and sunblock.
- Food and drinking water.
- Safety and emergencies
Most of the mountain is safe and easy walking, but erosion near the summit has left a few unstable steep areas which could be dangerous. Keep children well away from these areas.
In the case of emergency, contact Auckland Council. Phone +64 9 301 0101.
Mangere Mountain map
View an aerial photograph of Mangere Mountain that includes track information.