08 December 2020

Get to know your waterfront

Get to know your waterfront

Get to know your waterfront

The America's Cup is coming to Auckland's waterfront, and many new public spaces and developments have reached completion ahead of the event.

To celebrate these new spaces, and to share stories of Wynyard Quarter’s past, present and future, Panuku has created an informative and interactive walking tour.

This walking tour is housed in an app called AKL City Tours, and it allows anyone interested in learning about Wynyard Quarter to self-guide themselves around the waterfront to find out more.

It was launched on 27 November with an in-person version of the tour hosted by Auckland Transport’s (and exiting Panuku) board chair Adrienne Young-Cooper, Panuku’s CE David Rankin, Panuku’s Head of Placemaking Frith Walker and its Priority Location Director for the waterfront, Fiona Knox. A group of key players including Councillor Chris Darby, Auckland Council’s Chief Executive Jim Stabback, Alexandra Bonham from the Waitematā Local Board and Viv Beck from Heart of the City were in attendance and guided around Wynyard Quarter.

Stops on the walking tour included Ūrunga Plaza, Amey Daldy Park, Tīramarama Way and the newly restored Percy Vos Shed, as well as many different points of interest in between. At each stop there were subject matter experts onsite to talk to their projects and the thought process that has gone into them.

Adrienne Young-Cooper welcomed the group with an opening speech at Karanga Kiosk before leading the group to their first stop on the tour, Ūrunga Plaza. Scott Wigglesworth of Isthmus Group spoke to the concept of design that tied the newly opened public space to the Viaduct Harbour and Waitematā. From the use of a custom-made Viaduct colour palette, to the placement of the shells in the promenade pathway, and the ‘woodstack’ seating design that symbolises the industrial timber mill history of the area, every detail was incredibly considered and thought out.

The second stop was Amey Daldy Park, which is due to open to the public Friday 4 December. The group were met and shown around the new pocket park by Ethan Reid and Henry Crothers from LandLAB and the Auckland Transport Project Director Luke Donald.

“This park is designed to be a backyard for those who live and work in the Wynyard Quarter,” said Donald. “It’s a little green oasis with trees to offer plenty of shade, and rolling topography to add texture to the otherwise flat Wynyard Quarter landscape,” he said.

After receiving an early access tour of the park before it is officially blessed and opened this week, the group moved onto Tīramarama Way to hear from Nathan Young of Wraight + Associates and artist Lisa Reihana about the detail and design of the quarter’s newest laneway.

From the 408,000 individually sandblasted dots in the ground, to the playful purposeful puddles that feature water that rises and falls with the tide, and the magnificent Matariki inspired light display lining the laneway, Lisa and Nathan captivated the group as they relayed their vision and involvement with the space.

Transitioning away from the laneway in the heart of Wynyard Quarter, the group then toured towards the more industrial end of the precinct. Everyone was met by the nostalgic scent of restored timber as they reached the entrance to the newly restored Percy Vos Shed on Hamer Street. In amongst the gasps of marvel, Frith Walker imparted tales of her family connection to the waterfront and the importance of the restoration and the preservation of Wynyard Quarter’s maritime history. “This place and the skills it will nurture are core to our marine story – from our beautiful classic yachts to the big superyachts and everything in between. That is Percy’s legacy. “

“My uncles says, “your ancestors are looking out through your eyes so you better make sure you are giving them something good to look at”. That is true for so many of us here and so I always think, we need to make sure that what we’re doing here counts,” she said.

Having the shed restored to its former glory represents a historic moment for boat building and Auckland’s seafaring history. Now that stage one is complete, stage two of the shed restoration will complete the renovation and see the slipway reconnected to the shed to enable the haul out of boats and other vessels.

At the last stop of the tour, the group gathered in the atrium of the recently completed 5-star Park Hyatt Hotel to hear about the Fu Wah and Park Hyatt story from Brett Sweetman and Richard Aitken from the hotel. They spoke about the early stages of negotiations leading to an agreement to develop back in 2011, to its recent completion in September this year.

Ending the tour hearing about the near-decade-long journey of the hotel really signified how much thought, dedication and passion has gone into transforming the waterfront precinct into what it is today.

Wynyard Quarter is a flagship regeneration neighbourhood for Panuku, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council. It is one of New Zealand’s most master planned neighbourhoods and it has been developed to deliver a strong vision to open up the water’s edge of the Waitematā in the central city to the public.

When you are next down in the waterfront, be sure to download the AKL City Tours app and discover for yourself some of the amazing stories Wynyard Quarter has to offer.

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