Northcote's greenway Te Ara Awataha
15 November 2017 - 31 December 2027
- In Progress
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 Papa ki Awataha / 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
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
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.
Awataha Greenway Design Guide
November 2017November 2017: Awataha Greenway Design Guide completed and shared with the community.
July 2018Workshops with local schools and community groups were held to gather design ideas for the Awataha Greenway project.
Greenslade Reserve design
December 2018Detailed design for the Greenslade Reserve upgrade commenced and a resource application was lodged.
Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve clean up begins
March 2019Tonar Scout Reserve begins at the source of the Awataha Stream.
Greenslade Reserve upgrade works begin
January 2020Greenslade Reserve upgrade works begin
Land acquired for greenway
May 2020Eke Panuku and Healthy Waters acquired a parcel of Ministry of Education land at 31 Fraser Avenue and 145-157 Lake Road for the schools' edge portion of the greenway.
Schools’ Edge design completed
Detailed design for the Schools’ Edge section of Te Ara Awataha was completed.
Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve clean up recommences
July 2020The community-led restoration days at Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve, delivered by Kaipātiki Project on behalf of Eke Panuku, recommenced following the first nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, with more than 200 plants put into the ground.
Greenslade Reserve stage two works begin
September 2020September 2020: Greenslade Reserve entered stage two works. This work involved lowering of the existing sports field and the replacement of underground stormwater pipes to reduce the risk of flooding in and around the town centre.
Schools’ edge construction begins
October 2020Construction of Te Ara Awataha alongside Northcote Intermediate School and Onepoto Primary School began.
GHD Award for Environmental Leadership
May 2021The project won the GHD Award for Environmental Leadership at the 2021 Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards.
Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve receives Kūmara Award
November 2021Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve was honoured with the ‘Saving the World One Place at a Time’ award at the Kūmara Awards 2021.
Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve concept design approved
November 2021The concept design for a restored Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve was approved by the Kaipātiki Local Board. The upgrade includes stream restoration works, new native planting and improved amenity.
Transformed Greenslade reserve reopens
A blessing ceremony is held to mark the end of construction works. The reserve reopens as a stormwater water detention pond, a sports and recreational park and a key part of Te Ara Awataha.
Te Ara Awataha community celebration day
The community gathered to celebrate the partial opening of Northcote’s new greenway, from Greenslade Reserve and Cadness Reserve through to Richardson park.
It was a fun day of live music, entertainment, activities, kai, and community participation, supported by us, Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities, Auckland Council and Kaipātiki Local Board.
Celebrating Te Ara Awataha – Northcote’s new greenway
Developed over the last six years, Te Ara Awataha is a new greenway beside the Awataha Stream in Northcote, connecting neighbourhoods with the town centre, schools, and homes.
The completed areas of Te Ara Awataha - from Greenslade Reserve / Te Kaitaka through the town centre and Cadness Reserve, all the way along to Richardson park - are being celebrated with the community. On the 1 April 2023, there will be a fun day of live music, entertainment, activities, kai, and community participation, supported by Eke Panuku, Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities, Auckland Council and Kaipātiki Local Board.
“It’s been an amazing collaborative journey to literally bring Te Ara Awataha to life in Northcote! We’ve daylighted, or brought to the surface, most of the Awataha Stream through the heart of Northcote to create a green, safe pathway and boosted the mauri (life essence) of the stream. We’ve improved the water quality and created a habitat for wildlife. It’s a delight to see kaka and eels in the area once more.”Principle Regenerative Design Lead - Eke Panuku
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Sara Zwart, Principal Regenerative Design Lead, says, “It’s been an amazing collaborative journey to literally bring Te Ara Awataha to life in Northcote! We’ve daylighted, or brought to the surface, most of the Awataha Stream through the heart of Northcote to create a green, safe pathway and boosted the mauri (life essence) of the stream. We’ve improved the water quality and created a habitat for wildlife. It’s a delight to see kaka and eels in the area once more.”
“Also, in the recent flooding events Te Ara Awataha, together with Greenslade Reserve / Te Kaitaka - now a stormwater detention park, they proved their effectiveness. They worked exactly as they are meant to and minimised flooding, a problem that has plagued the neighbourhood in previous years.”
Sara says, “Te Ara Awataha was made only possible with the combined efforts of Eke Panuku with mana whenua, Kaipātiki Local Board, Kāinga Ora, Healthy Waters, Auckland Council, the business association, community groups, including Kaipātiki Community Facilities Trust and Kaipātiki Project, and the local schools.”
Placemaker Roxie Haines says, “What better way to celebrate the opening of Te Ara Awataha than working with the community to build a sense of ownership.” Key themes for the event are environment, play and movement. Cultural and community aspects will be woven throughout the day, as well as Para Kore - Zero Waste.
At the Water New Zealand Excellence Awards 2023, Te Ara Awataha won the Environmental Sustainability Project Award.
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