A homely touch in the form of a community garden set amid industrial surroundings is taking root at Wynyard Central.

The garden, established and maintained by Ngati Whatua in partnership with Waterfront Auckland, includes planters of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit.

Rosemary, thyme, rhubarb, tomatoes and even watermelons are among the produce in two lines of planter boxes down Daldy St, fed with water collected from the roof of a nearby tram shed.

The garden is open for passers-by, who at this stage are mainly business people, to help themselves. But it's hoped to foreshadow an increasingly communal feeling in Wynyard Central as residential buildings are established and families move in.

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"That idea of the domestic, that is really fundamental," said Waterfront Auckland place manager Frith Walker.

"There's a lot of clues here about how you could have a garden on your apartment deck, and walk outside to get a salad when you thought you had to buy it in a plastic bag."

Waterfront Auckland is inviting people in the area to join in and benefit from the project, saying gardens are helpful in sustainable, high-density living.

Nadia Cooper, of Ngati Whatua, said the project had a strong emphasis on kaitiakitanga - custodianship of the land. "We're totally zero organic waste.

"This is an extension of our kaupapa, of growing food for people, sharing food, sharing knowledge."

Ms Walker said Ngati Whatua's philosophies overlapped with Waterfront Auckland's goals of sustainable development, and the two groups hoped to see similar projects occur in future.