“The restoration project has been an outstanding success,” the mayor says.
“As an MP in this area for many years, I was well aware of the issues this neglected waterway posed for locals and have been looking forward to the completion of the restoration project since I launched it by breaking a volcanic rock on this site in late 2016.
“It’s been fantastic to watch this area evolve over the years from a concrete channel with little public access or amenity to an impressive and welcoming space with walkways and cycleways, tree plantings, a māra hūpara (Māori playground), community multicultural fāle, community orchards and more.”
Mayor Goff says the collaborative approach to the restoration from all parties involved is a model for future projects.
“This project would not have been possible without extensive collaboration and consultation with the community, local schools, mana whenua, mataawaka, local boards, Auckland Council and its CCOs, contractors and other parties,” he says.
“The diversity of these partnerships added real value to the project and contributed significantly to its environmental, cultural, social and economic success.”
$25 million stormwater project
Te Auaunga/Oakley Creek is one of Auckland’s longest urban streams, winding its way from Hillsborough through Mt Roskill, Ōwairaka and Waterview to the Waitematā Harbour.
A now scenic waterway, it supports a range of indigenous flora and fauna and holds social, cultural and biological importance to the communities it flows through.
The $25 million stormwater project has reduced flooding along the stretch of parkland between Richardson Road and Sandringham Road, improved water quality and renewed the parklands along the awa’s banks.
Auckland Council, local boards and the community worked in tandem to deliver the project, with community groups and manu whenua playing a critical role in taking people along on the journey to naturalise the awa.
Peter and Tili Leilua of Global Hope Mission worked to support the community on the project through consultation, engagement, and by empowering them to be connected and included in the plans for the awa.
“The majority of the ideas are from the community, one of Auckland’s most culturally diverse,” says Tili.
“Local agencies have helped to nurture and support these ideas. It’s been a wonderful experience to work as a collective.”
A place for all
A new multicultural fāle brings sacred Pacific artforms, a gathering place for the community, and ribbons of colour to the Te Auaunga restoration project.
Using the sacred Tongan artform of lalava (binding or lashing), artist Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi and architect Miles Heine from McCoy + Heine Architects have collaboratively created a meeting place in the Mt Roskill (Wesley) neighbourhood’s new backyard.
The lalava forms represented in the artwork include the tuna (eel) and manu (bird), while the fāle itself uses the kupenga (net) form to express that this is a meeting place for all cultures.
The Te Auaunga Awa project team started planning to incorporate public art into the wider project in early 2015. Options considered were for an outdoor classroom and a community fāle and consultation with the community found that there was support for these projects as part of the wider restoration.
Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi and McCoy + Heine Architects were appointed as a creative team to design the outdoor classroom which was completed in April 2019. The artist and architect continued to work together to produce concepts for the community fāle, a suite of furniture and wharepaku (bathrooms) for the project.
An opportunity for all
The project has provided employment opportunities for the area’s local people.
Global Hope Mission mentored 12 students trained by Unitech and many were employed within the project by Fulton Hogan or the Te Whangai Trust. Supported by Auckland Council, the Trust is now working with Wesley Intermediate and the local community to establish a local nursery to eco-source plants, delivering ongoing community involvement to the project.
Opening ceremony and celebration
An opening ceremony for Te Auaunga/Oakley Creek will be held on Saturday 6 July from 10am at Walmsley and Underwood reserves, Sandringham Road Extension, Mt Roskill. It will be followed by live performances from local community groups throughout the day.