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Learn in nature's classroom

The fertile soil of our mountain has been supporting communities since the arrival of the first inhabitants.

We are keeping alive the traditional ways of cultivating food and medicinal plants on the rich volcanic slopes of Maangere Mountain. See the traces of gardens from hundreds of years ago, learn about heritage Maaori crops – and see them growing.

There are five garden areas dotted around Maangere Mountain. Near the summit you’ll find the archaeological remains of kuumara pits and terraces dating back centuries. Down near our Visitor Centre there are the lush vegetable gardens that nurture crops for our Maara Kai food education programme, as well as the Heritage Garden that contains traditional Maaori crops.

You can also walk through the Medicinal Garden that contains plants used by Maaori for healing in days gone by. Finally, there’s a tranquil Nature Garden filled with native shrubs and trees. This is currently being redeveloped to offer even more rewarding experiences for families and children.


The Maramataka, which translates to ‘moon rotating’, is a traditional Maaori lunar calendar. This ancient wisdom helps to guide planting cycles and living in harmony with nature.  Today we use this to guide our activities at the centre, come and be part of this connection.