Tūpuna Maunga Authority opens game-changing Whānau Ātea

At the foot of Te Pane o Mataoho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain, the whānau ātea comes to life in November (2022)

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority is pleased to signal the opening of its new whānau ātea (family recreation space) at the foot of Te Pane o Mataoho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain — the most comprehensive collection of Māori recreational elements in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Just in time for Christmas, on 21 December 2022, the gate will open to the vibrant recreation facility that honours cultural, spiritual, heritage, and ecological values in its design.

Authority Chair, Paul Majurey, states “When the project was first proposed in 2019, the space held a small, run-down playground, skate park, and basketball hoop. The Authority worked to ‘promote an enduring relationship between the Maunga and the wider community’, and envisaged a place of gathering, recreating, and sharing pūrakau and kai.”

Two thousand members of Te Pane o Mataoho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain community shared their views on preliminary design plans. The outcome is an array of deeply considered, beautifully rendered elements.

Traditional Māori play expert Harko Brown advised on the design of the māra hūpara.

Waka see-saws are part of the Harko Brown-advised māra hupara


Play elements include: tūpekepeke (upright logs for jumping practice), whirinaki (climbing log), wiwi wawa (grassed play mounds), and much more.

Other enhanced spaces at the foot of Te Pane o Mataoho include:

  • Kī-o-rahi field with pou/Matariki star compass
  • Two basketball half-courts painted with patterns representing mana whenua stories
  • Auditory and wheelchair-accessible play elements
  • Integrated skate space.

To top off this nuanced offering, the Authority worked with hāngī master Rewi Spraggon to create the first permanent, bookable community hāngī pit with design support from Boffa Miskell, leading environmental planning and design consultancy. 

Paul Majurey shares that, “The Tūpuna Maunga Recreation Strategy guided us to establish play spaces that provide an authentic opportunity to incorporate traditional Māori play features. This first rollout has surpassed expectations. We appreciate very much all the people and teams who shared their time to make this special space a reality.” 

Deputy Chair and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu ward councillor Alf Filipaina says, “We are thrilled to make the whānau ātea available to the Māngere Bridge community. We anticipate the whānau ātea at Te Pane o Mataoho will fast become a destination for families in Tāmaki Makaurau.” 

In the new year the multifunctional and inclusive space will be further adorned by mana whenua artists and local kura. In anticipation, the Tūpuna Maunga Authority is planning for 2023 to be a year of celebration and sharing at Te Pane o Mataoho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain.