Mangere Mountain is one of the least modified of the big cone pa sites which once dominated the Auckland - or Tamaki Makaurau - skyline. The 50 volcanic cones in the area were sought-after Maori settlement sites. Their warmer, friable volcanic soils were more suitable in New Zealand's temperate climate for growing tropical crops like kumara, taro and gourds and they offered a clear view of potential attackers.
On the mountain you can see the remains of what was once an extremely large eighteenth century Maori fortified settlement, or pa. Low stone walls radiate out from the base of the mountain, the remnants of the major Maori land boundaries that once divided the landscape into large pie-shaped pieces.
These boundaries marked out gardens, houses and other living areas. There are scores of house and garden terraces, walled garden mounds, stone boundary walls and kumara storage pits around the crater.
A series of cast iron and basalt sculptures placed around the mountain show what life was like there, including what foods were eaten and how they were cultivated, caught and stored. A one hour 'land marker' walk follows the sculptures (see the self-guided walk brochures below).
Four large paintings by local artist Chris Gaskin, which are sited near the education centre at the base of Mangere Mountain, also depict life there, from the time of the last eruption 40,000 years ago, through 500 years of continuous Maori settlement, to the pastoral farms of European settlers.
You can pick up the Mangere Mountain volcano and landmarker self-guided walk brochures from the Manukau City Council, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Visitor Centre.