Panuku Development Auckland

25 March 2015

Here’s a little snapshot of a part of my central city neighbourhood experience.

Here’s a little snapshot of a part of my central city neighbourhood experience.

Just after 6am on most mornings of the working week I head for the end of Queens Wharf to do Tai Chi.  Often there will be one or two of my neighbours without permanent accommodation down there already and at this time of the year we are joined by fishing neighbours, looking to catch the big one at the change of light.  A few more strenuously inclined neighbours will pound past on their morning runs or power walking.  Then by the time I finish Tai Chi, all these neighbours and myself will walk back off the wharf and seamlessly melt back into the city joining those who come into the neighbourhood five times a week by train, ferry, bus, cars and bike.

It is the invisibility of neighbourhood and the mindset that the city is only a commercial space that I want to challenge.  A residential population of around 30,000 people living in the city makes for a very different city and I sense there is an increasing appetite for neighbourhood in the rolling vales of central Auckland.

The growth of the central city residential population is now such that we are no longer a quirky addition to a business space but a community existing in tandem with the commercial and educational hum of the city.  A fabric of residential living in apartment blocks now exists that has fundamentally changed the city centre forever.

I know that I don’t speak alone, when I talk of the pride I have of living in the city and the energising way of life it brings but this tends to be a conversation spoken knowingly between neighbours in isolation.

Research undertaken in 2013 indicated a gap in the desire for a sense of neighbourhood and its perceived existence.  66% of central city residents “agreed that a feeling of community was important to them, however only 33% agreed that there as a sense of community in the inner city” (Auckland Council Inner City Residents research 2013 – Mobius Research and Strategy Ltd)

Can I ask you to reflect for a moment on times in your life you’ve been a good neighbour, or to use a biblical term, a good Samaritan – an action either big or small.  Then ask yourself what was the benefit that I got from being a good neighbour.  Was what I got back worth more than what I gave?   With a few unreciprocated reactions I’d bet most people speak positively of how they felt internally, what it meant for the relationship with the other person, particularly where that relationship grew bigger as a result.  Such is the good vibe when you’ve been part of building a community’s social capital.

“When strangers start acting like neighbours...communities are reinvigorated”. Ralph Nader

Over the last few months a group of city residents, community groups and council have organised the Central City Neighbours Day Event as an opportunity for all residents of the city to come together to celebrate, connect and fire-up our sense of neighbourhood in the central city. 

It is time for the Neighbourhood to rise up. (Cue sounds of approaching trumpets and general flag waving.)

Central City Neighbours Day - Saturday 28 March  11am3pm

Pioneer Women’s Hall and Freyberg Square on High St

Bouncy castle, live music, BBQ, chess, local community groups, quiz with over $1700 worth of neighbour donated prizes to be won, gardening for small spaces, film of old Auckland, activities galore…

It’s our neighbourhood to create and enjoy – I hope to see you there.

MIK SMELLIE, Central City Fanatic.
Mik and his wife has been living in the central city for 9 years and have no desire to return to the suburbs. Trained in social services and community development he is truly passionate about Auckland city

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McConnell Property is making excellent progress with civil earthworks, drainage and roads due for completion by May 2017.


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