Rangitoto tourism: Iwi plans ziplines and gondolas

An Auckland iwi wants to install ziplines and gondolas on Auckland's Rangitoto Island.

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki recently won a court case over who has rights to conduct commercial operations on the young volcano, and chairman James Brown has big plans.

"These iconic landscapes need to be accessible, so a zipline is possible and also a gondola," he told Newshub, suggesting a ski-lift was also a possibility.

"The way access to the island is set up right now is actually very limited, just three ferries a day.

"How do we make it more accessible to the elderly, the disabled, for babies?"

He dismissed concerns ziplines and gondolas would damage the pest-free paradise, saying the rides wouldn't be visible from the mainland.

"My ancestors didn't wreck Rangitoto or Motutapu or any island. The Crown and its mates did," he told NZME.

Rangitoto.
Rangitoto. Photo credit: Getty

Brown also insisted the plans weren't driven solely by commercial gain and had a message for anyone who opposed the plan.

"Money is just a by-product," he told Newshub. "Get over it. You're only protecting your young, healthy self. What happens when you get old and you would like to get there?"

He said he expected to face "some issues and animosity" over the plans locally, and hinted there had been offshore interest in helping fund the infrastructure.

"We're being circled by sharks unseen in New Zealand waters. Enthusiastic global folk are keen to collaborate."

More infrastructure could also appear on neighbouring Motutapu, with a lodge planned at a cost of about $17 million and cycle tours.

Rangitoto last erupted about 600 years ago, and there are conflicting opinions on whether it could erupt again.

The plans have the backing of Ngāti Whātua, a much bigger iwi.

"We gave formal support in their legal case against the Crown and [Department of Conservation] in the early stages and fully congratulate them on their win in the Supreme Court to have their rights recognised," spokesperson Ngarimu Blair told NZME.

"Nga Tai has shared their tourism ideas with us and other iwi and we are close to finalising a Māori tourism strategy for the wider region which will see Tāmaki Makaurau over time have many authentic sustainable Māori experiences."

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