Restoration of Te Motu a Hiaroa/Puketutu Island sees plans emerge for a new marae and wānanga; cladding on Chinese modular state housing pods changes appearance and when an unintended email trail results in a surprising back-handed compliment. This is the Business Herald’s last column for 2023, offering insight into what those on the inside of the industry are talking about, what worries them, what they’re celebrating, the rises, the falls and who’s doing what.
Toa designs buildings for Te Motu a Hiaroa/Puketutu Island
Award-winning Toa Architects have designed a dramatic looking new marae and wānanga for a site on the 187ha Te Motu a Hiaroa/Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour.
In the next major step of the rehabilitation of the debased landscape where maunga were removed and the motu landform significantly changed, a charitable trust has progressed plans for new buildings to the point that a notified resource consent has been submitted.
An assessment of environmental effects written by Lance Hessell at planning business Civix said up to 1000 people could visit the marae at any one time for big events and the aim is to create a new gathering point and educational facility.
Last month, Auckland Council notified the resource consent application for the development at 600 Island Road where the marae is planned.
Boffa Miskell developed a landscape plan said to mitigate the effects of new buildings, designed to be sympathetic to the site contours and setting.
Toa, founded by Nicholas Dalton, is well-qualified to win this significant project. Toa says its name means strength, bravery and breaking new ground.
In June, the architects won a public architecture award for Te Taumata o Kupe Nuku on Te Mahurehure Marae at Point Chevalier. The judges in the local Auckland area award from Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects praised that new structure as an heroic building.
Civix said the island site for the new marae was being grazed and until recently formed part of the Woodlands Horse Stud.
The proposal is for a kāuta (cookhouse), kīhini (kitchen), wharekai (dining area), marae atea (open meeting area), tipuna whare (ancestral meeting house/marae), wharepaku (toilets), courtyard areas, offices, storage areas, parking for 72 vehicles and one loading bay. A waharoa or ceremonial entranceway as well as open grass areas are included in the plans.
Up to 50 people could attend there for small events, 300 people for medium-sized events but up to 1000 people for big gatherings, although those are likely to be irregular and subject to event traffic management planning, Civix said.
“The facility will enable a wider population, including the rangatahi of Tāmaki Makaurau to engage with and learn about the natural and cultural heritage values of Te Motu a Hiaroa and its place in the wider landscape of Tāmaki,” the application said.
The land is zoned Māori special purpose, quarry and conservation zone and is a site of significance to mana whenua, Civix notes.
Toa’s client was listed as Te Motu a Hiaroa Charitable Trust.
The application proposes to open public access to parts of the island, including the northern coastline near the planned marae complex.
On rehabilitating the island, Watercare says Te Motu a Hiaroa is sacred to the people of Te Kawerau ā Maki, Te Waiohua and Waikato-Tainui.
It was the first permanent home of the crew of the Tainui waka in Aotearoa.
In the 1950s, it was quarried for projects including the expansion of the nearby Auckland Airport. Thousands of tonnes of scoria and basalt rock were taken and the island’s volcanic cones vanished.
Watercare bought a long-term lease on the island and then transferred its ownership to a trust with 12 iwi trustees.
“We are now rehabilitating the island by filling the former quarry with biosolids from the Māngere wastewater treatment plant. At the end of the project – not until 2049 – four small hills will be created to replicate the scoria cones that were quarried in the 1950s,” that entity says.
The planned marae is the next step in the journey.
Te Motu A Hiaroa (Puketutu Island) Governance Trust was registered in 2011, its main purpose being environment and conservation, working for the benefit of Te Kawerau Iwi, Makaurau Marae Maori Trust and Waikato Tainui.
The new facilities are to be freely accessible to the public, the entity acting as kaitiaki of the island, educating and informing people about the Māori and European history of the Island and places of historical and cultural significance there.
Consent for the plans is yet to be decided.
What once was green is now black
Goodbye Kermit the Frog, hello stylish black cladding.
An eye-catching once-fluorescent green six-level modular building project in Point Chevalier’s older-style town centre has been transformed as construction progresses.
During the winter, the block by state housing agency Kāinga Ora sported a USG Boral-supplied bright green exterior in the form of Securock Glass-Mat Sheathing, a non-combustible moisture and mould-resistant panel designed for use under exterior cladding.
But now the block on the corner of Great North Road and Point Chevalier Road has got its new skin, clad in a stylish dark colour, blending in more with the surroundings.
The apartments were imported fully built from China to house couples or individuals aged 55-plus moving into or from existing state housing.
Tawera Group and Teak Construction assembled the unusual-looking 61-unit block of single-bedroom units.
Mistaken email results in pyrrhic victory
It’s not a regular occurrence that Property Insider receives emails not meant for her. But a powerful listed company in the property sector mistakenly sent one her way last week.
And of all things, it discussed her work. The email compared coverage of one listed company with itself.
Two headlines were compared in the email, copying in the journalist to what was intended to be a private discussion.
It ended with “she’s got a point”, a back-handed compliment about this scribe’s work.
The communications head at the business then said: “Apologies – didn’t mean to copy you into this. Clearly, your stories are very closely read by our people.”
And with that pyrrhic victory, it’s time for Property Insider to sign off for 2023 and wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Back in January.
Anne Gibson has been the Herald’s property editor for 23 years, has won many awards, written books and covered property extensively here and overseas.