Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve / Papa ki Awataha upgrade

12 June 2023 - 22 March 2024

  • Northcote
  • Complete

Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve / Papa ki Awataha has been upgraded.

The upgrade of Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve / Papa ki Awataha extends Te Ara Awataha, the path of the Awataha stream - Northcote’s partially completed new greenway - to its source in the reserve.

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The transformation of Papa ki Awataha Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve is now complete. Check out this delightfully green, lush, and interesting space on Kākā Street, Northcote. 

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In this Eke Panuku podcast, we talk with Oliver Ferrick, a Civil engineer from Glasgow Contractors, about his restoration work on Papa ki Awataha Jessie Tonar Scour Reserve. 

He chats to Rory Palmer about the unique challenges of the upgrade and how important it was to support the initial mahi Kaipātiki Project had achieved in the area. 

Oliver emphasised how much he enjoyed the stakeholder engagement aspects of the project, including sharing with passionate locals, some who even looked after irrigation of plants at the weekends.

The project

The Kaipātiki Local Board approved the concept design for the upgrade in November 2021 (here's an article on that), to deliver an improved reserve for the rapidly growing Northcote community to use and enjoy.

The transformation of the reserve started in 2028 with Kaipātiki Project, a local environmental charity, who we support. Working with local volunteers, they steadily removed pest plants, such as bamboo and wild ginger, without the use of pesticides to help restore the native bush.

In June 2023, the reserve was closed to the public while we undertook a 10-month upgrade of the reserve. This was completed in March 2024.


The upgrade

New features include:

  • The restoration the Awataha Stream, which originates in the reserve. The stream has been restored and enhanced to improve its water flow and slips have been repaired. There is now a clear pathway through the regenerated bush to the puna (spring).
  • An improved open space area, close to Kākā Street. There is new landscaping, seating, artwork, exploration trails, recreation spaces and native planting.

The reserve is the source of the Awataha Stream and the start of multi-award winning Te Ara Awataha, Northcote’s new greenway.

Applying ‘Take Mauri, Take Hono’ – a mana whenua tool to measure Mauri (life essence) indicators - great care was taken during the project to protect and restore the natural ecology and minimize environmental damage. For example:

  • During construction, an ‘at risk’ Banded Kōkopu fish was safely move to a new location.
  • Local storm damaged trees were used to create interesting features.
  • Weeds were removed by hand rather than using chemicals.
  • Green waste was turned into compost.
  • Native plants moved during construction, were reused elsewhere on-site or Kaipātaki Project used them on nearby sites.
  • The use of construction vehicles, such as trucks and diggers, was limited to minimise environmental damage.
  • Old paving stones were reused on-site or taken to a concrete recycling plant to be crushed and re-used, diverting over four tonnes of waste from landfill!

We’re already seeing wildlife returning to the reserve and stream - Golden Bell Frogs, Banded Kōkopu and Kākā have been spotted – and native watercress is growing, great signs of a healthy local ecosystem.



Te Ara Awataha is a truly collaborative project and one that will provide benefits to the Northcote community for long into the future.

We collaborated with: mana whenua, Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters; Auckland Council; Kaipātiki Local Board; Kaipātiki Project; Kāinga Ora; Isthmus; T&T;  our contractor (Glasgow Contractors); community volunteers and others in the community, including the schools and school children.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the project.


Project completion

Following a mana whenua-led karakia whakawātea (dawn blessing) on Friday 22 March, the upgraded Papa ki Awataha Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve was reopened to the public.



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