Northcote's greenway Te Ara Awataha

15 November 2017 - 31 December 2027

  • Northcote
  • In Progress

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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.

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Area Detail

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The Greenway

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).

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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.

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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.

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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


Mayoral Conservation Awards

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

GHD Award

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

Kūmara Awards

Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve was honoured with the ‘Saving the World One Place at a Time’ award at the Kūmara Awards 2021.


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.

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.

Capture NORTHCOTE OCT2017 LGE 5644 Greenslade Flood Wall View 2 Panuku Jessie Tonar Resv 0274 Project Northcote 2 Camera Three Learning From Bridge Max Outdoor Learning Space BB Max Panuku Jessie Tonar Resv 0212 Northcote 2204 000018 DJI 0312 Video Screenshot 1 Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve And Kaipātiki Project Award Panuku Jessie Tonar Resv 0095 13 3 Te Ara Awataha 03042

Project Updates

Awataha Greenway Design Guide

November 2017

November 2017: Awataha Greenway Design Guide completed and shared with the community.

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.

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“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
Sara Zwart

Greenslade Reserve / Te Kaitaka - flooding before and after

After Before

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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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