Te Ara Awataha

Northcote’s new greenway

Te Ara Awataha, Northcote’s new greenway, is a 1.5km network of existing and new reserves that will run through the Northcote neighbourhood, connecting the town centre, schools and homes.

What’s special about this greenway is that it once had a stream, the Awataha, running through it. Since the 1950s the stream has been confined to an underground pipe.

The spring or ‘puna’ of the stream starts at one end of Northcote in Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve, however over time the waterway had been built over by roads, homes, a sports field and the Northcote town centre. In times of heavy rain, the residents in some of the streets beyond the town centre could kayak down the road as the flooding was so severe, and flooding in homes was a persistent problem.

Now, thanks to input from mana whenua and members of the community, as part of Te Ara Awataha greenway project the Awataha Stream will be brought to light for long distances of the greenway. This regenerative process, known as ‘daylighting’, will boost the mauri (life essence) of the stream, improving water quality and allowing it to become a habitat for birds, insects and tuna (eels) once more. It will also reconnect the community to this lost environmental taonga (treasure).

The path of the Awataha

The path of the Awataha

Mana whenua gifted a name to Northcote’s greenway. Te Ara Awataha means ‘the path of the Awataha’ and reflects the deep significance of the water source and cultural connection to mana whenua.

Co-designed with the community

Co-designed with the community

Te Ara Awataha is being jointly delivered by Eke Panuku Development Auckland and Kāinga Ora, working alongside Healthy Waters, the Kaipātiki Local Board and mana whenua. It will feature a shared cycle and walkway, and play elements that run the full length of the greenway, making it safe and fun for children to move in and around the neighbourhood.

Design workshops with local schools were held to gather ideas for the greenway. As a result, an outdoor classroom along the section of Te Ara Awataha that borders Onepoto Primary and Northcote Intermediate schools has made its way into the plans.

Creating and celebrating a unique sense of place

The project team have been working closely with mana whenua iwi representatives and artists to ensure that Te Ara Awataha captures the unique cultural narratives and values of this place. The design has developed out of a series of cultural health indicators, with a strong focus on healthy people and healthy environments.

Mana whenua artworks and integrated cultural design elements have been included to ensure that Te Ara Awataha uniquely represents this place, and it’s cultural and natural histories.

Restoring Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve

The community has been getting behind the project through the restoration of the Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve at the end of Kākā Street and the source of the Awataha Stream. Kaipātiki Project is delivering the restoration of the reserve on behalf of Eke Panuku and the community has been volunteering their time and labour to remove weeds, plant natives, and monitor water quality.

Since the restoration commenced, an increasing variety of birds have been observed at the reserve including tuī, kererū, kotare, tauhou as well as familiar introduced species. Even kākā have been spotted – with a first local sighting of the native in over 30 years.

Project awards and recognition

  1. Mayoral Conservation Awards

    Recipient of the Collaboration Award at the 2020 Mayoral Conservation Awards.
  2. GHD Award

    Winner of GHD Award for Environmental Leadership at the 2021 Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards.
  3. Kūmara Awards

    Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve was honoured with the ‘Saving the World One Place at a Time’ award at the Kūmara Awards 2021.
  4. Te Mana o te Taiao

    The project has been recognised in Te Mana o te Taiao – The Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020, developed by the Department of Conservation.
  5. Open River Journal

    The project features in the 2022 Open River Journal in a paper by Laura Donkers and Charmaine Bailie discussing the collaborative regenerative approach between Māori and non-Māori https://editions.lib.umn.edu/openrivers/article/reconnecting-community-to-the-awataha-stream/

Stay up to date.

Sign up to our newsletter