Updated: Maungatautari Hicks Road access reopens

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, viewing tower

Waipā residents will wake up to a new year and a new entrance to a favourite spot, with the reopening of Maungatautari Reserve’s Hicks Road access on 1 January 2022.

The reopening brings access to the northern enclosure and the over the mountain track, previously only accessible via the southern entrance at 99 Tari Road, Maungatautari.

Waipā District Council has been working with local iwi trusts and landowners to develop a new fenced track from Hicks Road to Maungatautari Reserve, which would resolve issues that caused the access to be closed in 2018.

Waipā District Mayor Jim Mylchreest said the reopening of the track was cause for celebration.

“I am incredibly pleased to be able to announce the reopening of Hicks Road access so more people can enjoy this ancient ngahere in the heart of our district. Maungatautari is home to so many native flora and fauna and is a very special place to visit so I would encourage those who can, to do so.”

A spokesperson for the Ani Waata Whānau Trust said they were also pleased to have access restored for their whānau and the wider community.

“We have maintained our commitment to supporting Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and their work to eradicate pests on our tūpuna maunga throughout the process.”

The whānau trust is also developing an educational walk to the reserve through the nearby Mangeroa gully, which Council has supported.

Parking for the Hicks Road access is now provided adjacent to Maungatautari Marae and track users will need to make a short walk to the end of Hicks road to the start of the track. Parking at the end of Hicks Road is prohibited. Track users must stay on the fenced track.

Council is also well underway with planning for the installation of new public toilets, which will be located adjacent to the marae to service track users. The facility will be built in the first half of 2022.

Co-Chair of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Poto Davies added that she was very pleased that visitors can now experience all areas of the maunga.

“On behalf of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, we are privileged to be able to share the mauri and mana of the maunga. The northern entry to Maungatautari has been closed to the public since 2018 and it is a great pleasure to have visitors enjoy all areas at the Sanctuary again. We are excited to showcase this section of the ngahere and look forward to welcoming the public to the northern enclosure.”

Maungatautari (Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve) is the largest ecological ‘island’ on mainland New Zealand. It is a haven for native wildlife and plants such as kiwi, Kōkako, tuatara and more, with a range of great walking and hiking tracks.

The maunga is surrounded by 47kms of predator proof fence enclosing 3,400 hectares of Mt Maungatautari, which keeps out mammalian predators so that native bird populations, trees and ferns are able to flourish uninhibited.

Visit the sanctuary mountain website at www.sanctuarymountain.co.nz.

Maunga decision likely soon

By Mary Anne Gill

21 December 2021 – A long-standing dispute between private landowners and Waipā District Council over access to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari looks set for a resolution before Christmas.

The News understands the Māori Land Court was to release its decision this week, three years after the council closed off the accessway through Hicks Road.

The first 850 metres or so of the walk from Hicks Road had been along a private driveway and across private farmland.

Visitors have instead been using the Tari Road entrance and those using the Summit Track return to Tari Road for access off the mountain.

Maungatautari (Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve) is the largest ecological ‘island’ on mainland New Zealand. It is a haven for native wildlife and plants such as kiwi, kokako (wattlebird), tuatara and more, with a range of great walking and hiking tracks.

The maunga is surrounded by 47kms of predator proof fence enclosing 3400 hectares of Mt Maungatautari, which keeps out mammalian predators so that native bird populations, trees and ferns are able to flourish uninhibited.

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