Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura

Mount Albert

Ōwairaka means the dwelling place of Wairaka. Another name is Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura, meaning the long burning fires of Rakataura. Rakataura was the leading tohunga on the Tainui waka (canoe).

This maunga was extensively modified by Māori in pre-European times to form a defensive pā featuring terraces, pits, ditches and banks. Today, only a few remnants survive, with much of the pā destroyed or damaged by quarrying away the top fifteen meters of the original maunga form, and the installation of roads and a water reservoir. 

Despite the destruction, the maunga remains a place of significance to Māori and an important archaeological site. Tread with care; keep to formed paths and avoid walking on the slopes.  

 

GEOLOGY

The earliest volcanic eruptions produced a tuff ring, the eastern remnants of which form the ground surface beneath parts of modern-day Mt Albert Rd.

Fire-fountaining eruptions followed, creating a large, complex scoria cone that buried most of the tuff ring. The scoria cone had a large crater opening to the northwest and a smaller crater on the mound in the south.

Lava flowed from the lower flanks of the cone. Flows to the south reached into the Oakley Creek valley and helped create the Ōwairaka swamp. Flows to the north reached the present-day shore of Waitematā Harbour in the vicinity of the Waterview motorway interchange.

Lava also flowed north from the breached crater in the vicinity of present-day Summit Drive and into the Meola Valley near Chamberlain Park Golf Course.

A number of lava caves are known within the flows from Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mt Albert.

 

VEHICLE-FREE SUMMIT

To recognise the cultural, historic and archaeological significance of the maunga, the tihi and summit road at Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mt Albert was permanently closed to private motor vehicles, including motorbikes and scooters, on 16 March 2019.

If you have limited mobility and cannot walk to the tihi, you can request to drive to the tihi in your own vehicle. Call us on 09 379 1340 to request an access code for the gate at the start of the summit road.

A visitor car park and a toilet block are located inside the main entrance to the maunga on Summit Road. Parking time limits are enforced to give all visitors equal parking opportunity.

 

VEGETATION RESTORATION

A programme to restore native vegetation and habitat for native wildlife on Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mt Albert will see the removal of around 345 exotic trees, many identified as pests in the Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy, and planting of around 13,000 new natives.

Consistent future care of the Maunga in line with cultural and natural heritage values includes restoring and reconnecting native ecological networks within and between the Maunga and the wider landscape. Proactive management of exotic plant species and reintroducing indigenous flora and fauna is a vital step towards that outcome.

Another important management objective is preserving and enhancing sightlines to and from the Maunga so that they are markers in the landscape and their cultural and natural features are visually apparent.

The safety of visitors and neighbouring properties from falling trees also been taken into account.

The commencement of this work is to be confirmed. 


Summit road gate access hours

Summer: 7am-8.30pm
Winter: 7am-7pm.

Times align to Daylight Savings.

 

LOCATION

27 Summit Drive, Mount Albert, Auckland