Car in Mt Eden crater sparks calls for vehicle ban

Last updated 05:00 04/07/2012
Mt Eden car
MELANIE LOUDEN/Fairfax NZ

DESTROYED: The security car is pulled from the crater of Mt Eden.

Mt Eden crater
LONG WAY DOWN: The car at the bottom of Mt Eden crater.
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Mt Eden residents have renewed calls for vehicles to be banned from Mt Eden after a car plummeted into the crater of the volcanic cone on Sunday night.

No-one was in the First Security vehicle at the time of the mishap.

It is believed a security guard stopped at the summit car park to help another motorist when the incident happened about 10pm.

Friends of Maungawhau chairman Kit Howden said there was no need for vehicles to go up Mt Eden.

"We wish to get vehicles off the summit. The trial with buses has been very successful. Make people walk - people do want to walk.

"People need to remember the volcanic cones are not recreational sites they're heritage sites."

From December last year Auckland Council banned buses - containing more than 12 seats or exceeding 3.5 tonnes - from the summit of Mt Eden.

Howden said there also needs to be a fulltime ranger service up the mountain.

Auckland Council staff and salvage experts spent Monday morning coming up with a plan to remove the car that would avoid causing more damage to the site.

Parks manager Mace Ward said it was lucky the crater is covered in thick grass because it provided a "blanket" to protect any archaeological treasures.

"The grass has really absorbed the damage. Our focus is firstly that no one was hurt and secondly the recovery of the vehicle with no damage to Maungawhau.

"We will review what's happened here and see if we need to take any steps to avoid this happening to a vehicle again," Ward said.

He said the council is waiting on a formal report from First Security.

North Harbour Heavy Salvage owner and operator Russell Baldwin was called on to remove the wreck.

He said he has towed a couple of cars out the crater in the past 30 years.

"It's usually the same story, someone's left the hand brake off or pushed the wrong pedal," he said.

First Security did not return calls.

* At 196m Mt Eden is Auckland's tallest volcano and prior to European settlement was a fortified pa. Management of the important heritage site will soon be passed over to local iwi as part of the Tamaki Collective.

 

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