Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Former Navy land set for development

Chris Darby said he understood Ngati Whatua's aspirations and backed plans for a variety of housing. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Chris Darby said he understood Ngati Whatua's aspirations and backed plans for a variety of housing. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Ngati Whatua might develop up to 100 residences on its 4.2ha Wakakura block near Devonport.

Chris Darby, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman, said the vacant land was zoned for residential development.

"The underlying zoning allows as of right for approximately 100 residential units so it's no surprise that Ngati Whatua are looking at a similar level of intensive housing," Darby said.

"The board has always supported the transfer of the Wakakura block to Ngati Whatua as commercial redress in their settlement package," he said.

"The land has been abandoned for almost two decades following demolition of [the] navy's foray into intensive housing.

"Through select committee submissions the board has expressed interest in maintaining and enhancing public access along the Ngataringa Bay margin in future development options. We're keen to explore that further with the hapu."

QV values the block at $6.8 million. Navy housing there was demolished and the site has been vacant for years.

Rob Hutchison, Ngati Whatua Whai Rawa chief executive, said earlier this year a big scheme was planned for the land.

"The whole of the Bayswater/Devonport area needs to have much more diversity in housing to provide for all groups," Hutchison said.

"I'm from Devonport and if you're a young person in Devonport, there are limited opportunities to buy property. If you're an elderly person, there's no opportunities in Devonport."

Neighbours in the area raised concerns about the strain on local roads and infrastructure but Darby said he understood Ngati Whatua's aspirations and backed plans for a variety of housing.

"In principle, I'm supportive of retirement housing, subject to urban design assessments. Too often I hear of Devonport's senior residents being forced to leave the community because of the lack of housing choice," Darby said.

"In our later years, when the kids have left home and partners predecease us, it's inevitable that housing needs change. Losing the wisdom from your community because of a lack of housing is a problem in Devonport. Ngati Whatua's proposal may offer one solution to that," he said.

"The board looks forward to seeing the proposal and working with Ngati Whatua as they begin to realise the potential of their 230 titles of land at Belmont, Bayswater and the Wakakura block."

- NZ Herald

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