Most Aucklanders have been captured by events that have been hosted in New Zealand or reflect the interest of people who claim this city as their own.
More recently we have stood together basking in the glory of the Rugby World Cup and even came out the end of an America's Cup Challenge proud of the Team New Zealand brand and happy to claim our role in the four million membership team.
Project Auckland is another opportunity for the city to build a team of champions and deliver what we agree is the best platform off which we can fulfil our dreams and ambitions for Auckland.
To enter into this new term of local government still fixed on a political "them and us" attitude and an adversarial left and right and right and wrong environment won't create a team for Auckland. It will continue to deliver division and frustration and Auckland will not close in on the world regions we like to compete and compare ourselves with.
There is a long way to go and we do not have the luxury of time given the pace other cities are prepared to move at. We need to take responsibility for what we are; what we should be and close the gap.
It frustrates me that we have talked in the past of Auckland being the financial centre of the South Pacific - the first to trade and see the light of day - and yet we still take our big money needs to Wellington instead of using the cerebral base and imagination of the finance sector here to provide innovative solutions to close the funding gaps that constrain our infrastructure build, and deliver homes for our future citizens.
That we should retain a rate-based funding system from owners of land and buildings and not have a system that has a fair contribution from all who participate in our economy seems unfair.
If there is one issue that my team Auckland would address to change the face of our communities, it is youth unemployment. This is an international problem of significant concern. In the OECD, for example, youth unemployment is 16 per cent and considered to be a major constraint to growth. In Auckland, youth unemployment is 22 per cent; if we focus on Maori and Pacific communities, it is closer to 30 per cent. This is unacceptable for a city whose economic development plan has the objective of delivering improved opportunity and prosperity for all.
The business community has responded positively with partnerships with Work & Income and Ngati Whatua but those initiatives need to be brought to scale with a whole-of-Government support instead of the dilution of effort created by our disconnected local government system.
The list of things to do is extensive and exists because of a failure to act in the past. Auckland councillors and administrators need to focus on issues on a city-wide basis. Issues of safety, security, infrastructure and employment are not confined to the city centre and recent events show clearly that current initiatives are inadequate.
What is needed is a greater participation and resourcing of Auckland's 21 local boards so they can play a greater role and take into account the diversity of the region and its people.
Nowhere is the need for a change of behaviour and new standards in council more in evidence than the recently notified Unitary Plan.
To reinforce that Auckland is serious about lifting its growth, exports and productivity, the Unitary Plan, a legal document, should include the relevant economic objectives from the Auckland Plan and be reinforced by policies and rules designed to achieve them. It doesn't. Instead, its focus is on regulating and controlling the effects of growth. It will need to be redrafted to align and support the core Auckland Plan objective to enable economic growth activities, not simply manage or control its effects.
If we are to deliver on a vision for Auckland we need a team who can innovate and create; people who can motivate and moderate then compromise and agree on a way forward - and then deliver the action.
We have the team to do this - all we need is the will to get ourselves organised to make it happen.
Michael Barnett is chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Industry