Northcote’s new community hub and upgrade of Puāwai Cadness Reserve

01 January 2025 - TBC

  • Northcote
  • In Progress

A new multi-purpose community hub building will enrich Northcote’s new town centre and provide a new community space for locals to use and enjoy.

It’s all part of the vision for Northcote’s town centre, to create ‘a lively and welcoming heart, where community, culture and business thrives, and everyone’s needs are met.



The development of a multi-purpose community hub is identified as one of the ten criteria for success in the town centre masterplan, endorsed by Kaipātiki Local Board in March 2019. See here for more information: plans for guiding Northcote's regeneration.

Local community services are currently provided across three separate buildings, the:

  • David Mitchell Library
  • Norman King Building
  • Northcote Citizens Centre Hall.

We are leading this project on behalf of Auckland Council and their strategic approach is to locate new or refurbished libraries with other community or council facilities, whenever possible. This trend is also happening overseas where libraries are positioned as centres for their communities, combining library services with other community services.

In late 2020, Eke Panuku and Auckland Council’s Customer & Community Services undertook a  community needs assessment to identify what the community would like included in a new integrated community hub building, in addition to library services.  

Feedback was received from 41 stakeholder, over 700 individuals, and 90 Northcote Intermediate School students. There were also informal discussions with people at local events.

We used this community feedback, alongside the 2019 Northcote Town Centre Benchmark Masterplan, to identify suitable locations for the facility.

In October 2021, the Kaipātiki Local Board confirmed the new community hub’s location – where Northcote Library is now.

The existing heritage-listed library building, built in 1982 and designed by architect David Mitchell, will be retained, refurbished, and extended, with a new wing to create space for community providers to be together with the library - Hearts and Minds, NorthArt, Citizens Advice Bureau, and Plunket.

At the same time, the adjacent Puāwai Cadness Reserve, which forms part of Te Ara Awataha – Northcote’s new greenway - will be upgraded.

Together, the new hub and upgraded reserve, will form a new central focal point for Northcote - connecting locals with community facilities, the revitalised town centre, Te Ara Awataha, and nature and play.

To develop the design, we used the community needs assessment, and input from key stakeholders over two years, including:

  • Library staff
  • Auckland Council
  • Mana whenua
  • Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters
  • Kaipātiki Community Facilities Trust
  • Kaipātiki Local Board
  • Community providers - Hearts and Minds, North Art, Citizens Advice Bureau, and Plunket.

In October 2023, the design brief and spatial requirements were approved by Kaipātiki Local Board.

In May 2024, Kaipātiki Local Board approved the concept design for an impressive new multi-purpose community hub and upgrade of the adjacent Puāwai Cadness Reserve.

Concept design

The concept design will deliver a much improved, flexible, fit-for-purpose, community space for the growing Northcote community and an upgraded Puāwai Cadness Reserve.

Key features of the community hub include:

  • Dedicated areas for the library and community providers (Hearts and Minds, North Art, Citizens Advice Bureau, and Plunket), as well as multiple flexible shared spaces. The shared spaces can be closed off or left open to enable different community activities to take place.
  • A larger plaza and forecourt. This will provide a visually strong and clear entrance to the building, as well as a space for all weather events or gatherings. It will also help create a stronger connection between the town centre, across Ernie Mays Street, and Te Ara Awataha.
  • Effective stormwater management. This is integral to the design, to minimise flooding.
  • A covered verandah for improved integration with Puāwai Cadness Reserve.
  • The building will aim to achieve a 6-star Green Star rating, to meet Auckland Council and Eke Panuku’s environmental aims.

 The upgrade of Puāwai Cadness Reserve will transform this under-utilised space to create a place for families, children, youths, and groups to gather, with the flexibility to accommodate lots of different types of activities, events, and gatherings.

Key features of the upgrade to Puāwai Cadness Reserve include:

  • A relocated basketball court.
  • A large lawn area, with a shelter from the weather.
  • Two play spaces to cater for younger and older children.
  • Two garden areas.
  • Public toilets.
  • Planting and swales that support natural overland flow paths and significantly more trees to provide shade, support the natural environment and help to reduce climate change.
  • A waste station.


If you have any comments on the design of the community hub and upgrade of Puāwai Cadness Reserve, email:

Wider Northcote programme

This project is part of the wider revitalisation of Northcote, to enrich the town centre and help the neighbourhood to thrive.

Another key project is the redevelopment of the town centre – Northcote Central. This will include new shops, offices, apartments, laneways, and a new town square, which is expected to start from 2027.

The new community hub, reserve upgrade, and Northcote Central, will bring more people to visit, live, and work in Northcote. It’s good for the community and local businesses and will encourage private sector investment, to create a more flourishing, vibrant neighbourhood.

Next steps and timing

We are working with schoolchildren and others to ensure we get the design of the play spaces right. This input will help us develop the detailed design.

  • Mid-2025 - Library services and the other community providers will temporarily move to the Northcote Citizens Centre Hall on Ernie Mays Street.
  • Mid-late 2025 - Construction of the new community hub and upgrade of Puāwai Cadness Reserve is expected to start and take approximately two years to complete.

We are aiming for continuity of library and community services.

More details about the transition to the Northcote Citizens Centre Hall and the impact on library and community services will be provided closer to the time.

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