It was lovely to be there and feel like Auckland was finally getting what it deserved.ONE OF the many reasons I loved my years in Wellington was the way the city planners had developed the waterfront.
The artworks, the public spaces, the bars, restaurants and the working wharves - as well as the wide promenades accommodating cyclists, joggers, skateboarders and rollerbladers - all said that this was a waterfront where everyone was welcome. Now, finally, with the first stage of the development of the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland is starting to look like a real city.
I simply don't believe you can be considered a significant metropolis until you have a waterfront that is a public space.
The Viaduct development, fuelled by the America's Cup, has been a success but it's not really a place for families. You can wander round the footpaths, looking on one side at the beautiful boats in their docks and on the other at the beautiful people in their five-star eateries. But it hasn't really been a place where you could unwrap a Vegemite sandwich, open a flask of tea and feel at home.
The Wynyard Quarter is much more accessible. The restaurants are family-friendly and the walkways are wide enough for the children to be able to run and play. The wind sculpture which always looked a little out of place in the inner city, looks completely at home here. There's a playground, a basketball court and a skate park and plenty of places to sit and watch the world go by.
The Events Centre is magnificent and the bridge linking the Quarter to the Viaduct proved a huge hit with Aucklanders last weekend. It was estimated that more than 60,000 people turned out on a drizzly day to make the most of their newest space.
It was lovely to be there and feel like Auckland was finally getting what it deserved. Auckland is my adopted home and I've always felt that the point of this city is its harbour.
With this development there's room for everyone to make the most of the best of Auckland. And it's only the beginning. The council and the developers deserve full credit for delivering a fabulous public space.