Rāhui ceremony performed in Waitakere ranges
Iwi have carried out a rāhui ceremony to stop access to the Waitakere ranges in West Auckland.
A crowd of around a hundred people gathered on Saturday morning at the Cascade Falls Park, including councillor Penny Hulse and former Labour leader David Cunliffe.
Local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki went ahead with the ceremony to place a form of tapu restricting the use of the ranges. The move was in response to the spread of kauri dieback throughout the area.
Chairman Te Warena Taua lead the procession from the start of the Auckland City Walk track to the base of a mature kauri tree a few hundred metres in to the track.
After iwi performed karakia attendants to the rāhui were encouraged to touch the tree and say a blessing.
Taua said they went ahead with the rāhui in a bid to save the forest for future generations.
"The forest needs to rejuvenate and heal, we encourage everyone to tell their friends and family to respect the rāhui."
Taua said there had been a number of reports over the years but not enough action.
"I don't want our future generations to only be able to see what these trees looked like in old reports."
Iwi would not be blocking access to the tracks, rather they wanted members of the public to respect the rāhui.
Auckland Council will meet on Tuesday to vote whether to ban people from the Waitakere ranges.
A council study released in August found kauri dieback had spread extensively through the Waitakere ranges.
Nearly a quarter of trees in its 2571 hectares of kauri forest were infected or possibly infected.