Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Tribe eyes Treaty land for housing

Ngati Whatua weighing up options for large waterfront block in Devonport.

Rob Hutchison says Devonport needs to provide housing for more diverse groups.  Photo / Greg Bowker
Rob Hutchison says Devonport needs to provide housing for more diverse groups. Photo / Greg Bowker

Ngati Whatua o Orakei is considering building housing and a retirement village on a waterfront block it owns at Ngataringa Bay near Devonport.

Rob Hutchison, chief executive of Ngati Whatua's commercial arm based in Quay Park, said yesterday his organisation was weighing up options for the vast seaside site on the corner of Ngataringa Rd and Wakakura Cres, where properties can fetch up to $1 million and more.

QV lists 1 to 88 Wakakura Cres as a 4.2ha block of vacant land valued at $6.8 million. Navy housing there was demolished some years ago and the site has been vacant ever since.

Mr Hutchison said Ngati Whatua wanted to work with Auckland Council over housing solutions and particularly wanted to provide for the wider community when it considered how to develop its land.

Mr Hutchison also indicated Ngati Whatua might be considering affordable housing too.

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

Consultants had studied various options but nothing firm had been decided, Mr Hutchison said.

Ngati Whatua was examining options for its other land and would make a substantial submission on the draft Unitary Plan, he said.

In an opinion piece in the Herald on April 11, Mr Hutchison indicated more intensive development of land could be planned than rules allowed.

Chris Darby, Devonport Takapuna Local Board chairman, welcomed Ngati Whatua's plans although said he knew no details.

The Wakakura land was already zoned to take 102 residential units and was an extremely large site, he said.

He often heard of young people who could not afford to buy in the area and older people in high-value houses who could not downsize.

So a mixed-use housing proposal like that being discussed by Ngati Whatua was a welcome solution and a key to making that work was to examine public bus services in the area which were set to increase in regularity, Mr Darby said.

In 2011, Ngati Whatua's Treaty of Waitangi settlement deal was reported as including an arrangement for it to pay the Defence Force $95.63 million over five years for five housing blocks in the area. Land at Narrow Neck was to be sold for $13.8 million and the Wakakura Cres block for $10 million.

Land bank

* Ngati Whatua o Orakei is considering developing the waterfront block it owns at Ngataringa Bay near Devonport.

* QV lists 1-88 Wakakura Cres as a 4.2ha block worth $6.8 million.

* Navy housing there was demolished some years ago and the site has been vacant since.

- NZ Herald

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