Since we first announced the news of the regeneration of Onehunga late last year, all has gone quiet. You could be forgiven for thinking that Onehunga has slipped off the agenda- but behind the scenes a high level plan is being created for the future of our town.
Panuku Development Auckland is the organisation charged with transforming Onehunga. They were responsible for the award-winning re-development of Wynyard Quarter, and we have high hopes that they can do the same for us.
Over the last few months, they have been meeting with community groups, including the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board and Onehunga Business Association, as well as local businesses and other stakeholders. They have also met with New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the agency responsible for the East West Link – the new motorway between Onehunga and Sylvia Park. This is to ensure there is greater alignment between the redevelopment opportunities Panuku is exploring, with planning of the East West connection.
They’re doing this, not only to find out key information about the area and how it knits together, but more importantly to find out what people want and do not want – so they can build on an already vibrant and thriving centre.
Panuku’s Place Making manager, Frith Walker, works on the creation of successful public spaces, which in practice means designing a space “with human experiences in mind”.
“It’s about really thinking about people and how they interact with their city and what we are building for them. It all comes back to people and how we look after each other.”
Some key elements of this include the acknowledgement and understanding of the rich history of our area, using best practice design for new buildings and infrastructure, and looking for opportunities that will support local economic development; this could mean the employment and training of local people to work on the project.
It is likely to be late this year that the high level plan will be submitted to Auckland Council but meanwhile the planning and meetings continue.
“We are heading at a pace toward being a big city, so how we plan for that, both emotionally and physically, is really important – for us as well as the generations to come.”