Significance of Tūpuna Maunga
Auckland's Tūpuna Maunga (ancestral mountains) hold a paramount place in the historical, spiritual, ancestral and cultural identity of the 13 iwi and hapū of Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau (the
mana whenua tribes of Auckland).
The maunga are at the heart of Auckland's identity and represent a celebration of our Māori identity as the city's point of difference in the world.
Aucklanders and visitors to the city know of the historical occupation of the Tūpuna Maunga by Māori, or they will experience, or may recognise, the terraced areas and other archaeological features. However, the fundamental significance of these treasured places is often not fully realised.
The continuous relationships of Mana Whenua with the Tūpuna Maunga express unbroken, living connections across the oceans and time.
This is underpinned by the fundamental Polynesian ethos of kinship with the physical, spiritual and human worlds.
History of Tūpuna Maunga
Māori settlement of
Aotearoa was the final iteration of over 3,000 years of a distinct Polynesian cultural tradition, based on maritime migration to, and adaptation of, hundreds of islands. Māori settlement of Aotearoa was the extreme extent of more than 30,000 years of Pacific expansion through migration.
Over time, as Māori society developed in Aotearoa - the last temperate habitable landmass on Earth -
Tāmaki Makaurau emerged as a singular centre.
The Tūpuna Maunga were developed into the most extensive network of monumental and defendable settlements in Polynesia, supported by expansive areas of volcanic soils suitable for agriculture.
Combined with a highly strategic maritime location, this made Tāmaki Makaurau an unparalleled centre of Māori social organisation – and the most active nexus of complex inter-tribal relationships and connections, transit and trade in Māori society.
The Tūpuna Maunga are revered by mana whenua as the creations of Mataaho (the guardian of the Earth's secrets) and Ruaumoko (the god of earthquakes and volcanoes). They were significant areas of settlement, of agriculture, of battles, of marriages, of birth and burial.
The Tūpuna Maunga are places to be honoured, respected and protected for those who have gone before and for the many generations to come.
Tūpuna Maunga returned to mana whenua
2014 saw the landmark Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Deed passed into law.
As part of this Treaty of Waitangi settlement, 14 Tūpuna Maunga were returned to the 13 mana whenua iwi and hapū of Auckland, marking an important milestone in the restoration of these iconic taonga (treasures).
The 14 Tūpuna Maunga are:
- Matukutūruru / Wiri Mountain
- Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill
- Maungarei / Mount Wellington
- Maungawhau / Mount Eden
- Maungauika / North Head
- Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mount Albert
- Ōhinerau / Mount Hobson
- Ōhuiarangi / Pigeon Mountain
- Ōtāhuhu / Mount Richmond
- Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa / Mount Roskill
- Rarotonga / Mount Smart
- Te Kōpuke / Tītīkōpuke / Mount St John
- Takarunga / Mount Victoria
- Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King.
Māngere Mountain and the Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill northern land ownership remains with the Crown but are administered through the Maunga Authority for the purposes of the Reserves Act 1977.