Te Ahumairangi Hill Lookout

8 November 2010

The new Te Ahumairangi Hill (formerly known as Tinakori Hill) lookout will be officially opened tomorrow (10 November) and is well worth a visit for its stunning vista.

Wellingtonians enjoying their trip to the hill's summit for a look at the view

Wellingtonians enjoying their trip to the hill's summit for a look at the view

The lookout, off the Northland end of Orangi Kaupapa Road, was completed following a comprehensive landscape plan that we developed in 2008. We wanted to improve access to the summit of Te Ahumairangi Hill for motorists, and also carry out some landscaping work.

The Council's Community Engagement and Reserves Manager, Amber Bill, says she hopes it will become an attractive destination for both Wellingtonians and visitors to the city.

"The view from the Te Ahumairangi Hill lookout, looking out over the Town Belt, is absolutely spectacular.

"As part of the lookout development there is also a new car park, picnic area and interpretation signage telling the history of the hill.

"There are also lots of walking and mountain biking tracks that connect to the lookout, which is accessible by foot from Northland, Wilton, Wadestown and Thorndon," she says.

Officially renamed as Te Ahumairangi Hill as a result of the Port Nicholson Block (Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o te Ika) Claims Settlement Act 2009, the hill is a significant Wellington landmark and part of the Town Belt. It is also important historically to Māori and European settlement.

Before European settlement, the entire ridgeline was known as Te Ahumairangi. When Europeans settled, one of the first roads constructed ran along the foot of the range. The story goes that Māori workmen were annoyed that they had to work without (kahore - meaning 'none') stopping for lunch - or dinner ('tina'). The phrase stuck, although anglicised, and both the road and the ridge were called Tinakore, and later, Tinakori.

The hillside has undergone a number of significant changes over the last 160 years. We removed some 10.5 hectares of pines from the steep lower slopes of Te Ahumairangi Hill in 2005 following severe storms in 2004 that brought down hundreds of trees. Since then, around 10,000 new trees have been planted.

Te Ahumairangi Hill also had an important part to play in Wellington's communications history. At its peak, Wellington Radio's 45 transmitting aerials sprawled across the 38-hectare length of the hill. The receiving station, demolished in 1975, stood on the site of the lookout.

The communications role of Te Ahumairangi Hill is now reduced to a microwave repeater for South Island television signals and cellular telephone transmissions.