Panuku Development Auckland

Onehunga: Past, present and future


Have your say on Onehunga's laneways
Onehunga is blessed with a series of great laneways which, given a bit of love and purpose, will encourage people to explore the hidden gems within Onehunga’s town centre.
A series of six upgrades are planned for our existing laneways. These works will include new paving, artwork, lighting and landscaping, to create a vibrant and interesting laneway network.

We want to hear what you think could be done as part of these upgrades. Visit our online tool Social Pinpoint to have your say on the laneways. 

Onehunga: A place of many firsts

Situated on the edge of the Manukau Harbour, Onehunga is one of Auckland’s earliest settlements. Its appealing location and abundant natural resources made it attractive as a place to live, first for Māori and later for European settlers.

This appeal remains, and today Onehunga’s central location and proximity to Auckland’s city centre and Auckland Airport continue to make it a desirable place to live, work and invest.

Industry and manufacturing were established early in Onehunga and continue as a distinctive characteristic of the area. Ingenuity, enterprise and craft have long been, and continue to be associated with Onehunga.

Almost every era of urban development and architecture in Auckland’s history can be found in Onehunga. This variety in Onehunga’s built form is reflected in the diversity of the people who live here. Onehunga is a truly multifaceted, multicultural community.

Onehunga also plays a significant regional and national role with respect to infrastructure. Due to its strategic location, it is relied upon to receive and host infrastructure for electricity, water, wastewater, transport and freight. There are further major infrastructure plans on the horizon for Onehunga, but also ongoing concern about the impact that this has on Onehunga’s community, and urban and natural environments.

Panuku's role in the redevelopment of Onehunga

The transformation

Panuku Development Auckland is leading the transformation of Onehunga. Our role is to facilitate and guide regeneration in Onehunga, in a way that understands and reflects the characteristics and needs of Onehunga and its community.

The transformation covers a 600ha area, which incorporates around 80ha of land owned by Auckland Council or its subsidiaries.

The plan will incorporate a mix of short-term developments, designed to lead change by example and build market confidence, as well as more substantial longer-term changes, aimed at improving infrastructure, socio-economic performance and the environment.

The importance of infrastructure

A major factor in Onehunga’s transformation will be the influence of transport and other infrastructure projects, scheduled to happen in the short to medium term.

Infrastructure has always had an effect on the function and form of Onehunga. It is important that infrastructure for regional purposes also delivers positive local outcomes.

Key infrastructure projects affecting Onehunga include:

  • light rail between the city centre and Auckland Airport
  • the East-West Link, connecting State Highway 1 and State Highway 20
  • the removal, over the long term, of 110kv high-voltage power lines
  • the redevelopment of Onehunga Wharf, with the retention of existing commercial fishing operations.

All of these projects will significantly influence the long-term plans and programme for achieving regeneration in Onehunga. Many of these projects will be complex and take time to resolve. Panuku will commit to working closely with government agencies and infrastructure providers to ensure these projects are beneficial for Onehunga. 

What’s happening now

We will move forward with a crucial element of our work – the transformation of Onehunga town centre – while we work with the government and others on infrastructure-related matters.

We have a flexible plan, designed to respond as matters regarding infrastructure projects become clearer. This plan covers the 10 blocks of the town centre, with an emphasis on the blocks that lie north of Neilson Street, including the streets and lanes that run between and connect within them.

Panuku controls 14 sites within these town centre blocks, north of Neilson Street. Design and development work has already been completed for most of these sites, and negotiations are underway with stakeholders who will be involved in or affected by the developments. 

Our vision is for a flourishing Onehunga that is well connected to its past, its communities and the environment, including the Manukau Harbour. 

Our Goals: Onehunga 2043

An enhanced and restored natural environment.

Onehunga has a healthy environment cared for and enjoyed by all. Onehunga prides itself on its green spaces and has reinstated its connection to its historic waterfront. The intertwined history of the natural environment and maritime and industrial activity is visible and celebrated.

A sustainable, enabled and connected community.

Onehunga is about its communities. It is a diverse, integrated neighbourhood with a people-oriented built environment that creates and strengthens connections between its residents, visitors and place. Onehunga remains a community where people of all ages and demographics want to live, learn, work, play and move about easily.

Auckland’s liveable and loveable neighbourhood.

Onehunga is a leading example of a vibrant, urban neighbourhood that celebrates its past and successfully moves into its future. Sustainable design, quality built-form and innovation are promoted. A range of housing types, suited to Onehunga and providing greater housing and lifestyle choice, is delivered.

Successful local growth, investment and innovation.

Onehunga seeks out opportunities for growth and innovation. Everyone works together locally; interactions between entrepreneurs are fostered, job creation and growth in emerging sectors is encouraged and youth are enabled to participate and innovate within their own communities. Local skills continue to be valuable assets. An increased residential population supports the town centre’s economic viability. Onehunga has unlocked its potential as a key location along Auckland's public transport corridor, with short journey times to the city centre and the airport.

How will we get there?

We’ve identified six key moves that describe what we think are most crucial to bring about transformation in Onehunga. They encompass a series of projects and initiatives, designed to kickstart the transformation process and bring about the kind of change that will help Onehunga prosper in the future.

Reframe infrastructure as a catalyst for regeneration.

Ensure infrastructure delivers on more levels than just its primary purpose – it should also generate additional opportunities. This involves rethinking single-purpose infrastructure so that it can deliver additional multiple benefits for the community through which it passes.

Create an alluring town centre.

Define and revive the 10 blocks that comprise the town centre for a range of uses that make Onehunga a bustling and popular place.

Re-establish the waterfront as a place for people.

Re-establish the role of Onehunga Wharf as a destination for people on Auckland’s largest harbour, the Manukau Harbour.

Prioritise the importance of local connections.

Improve community connections by enhancing the walking and cycling experience and network for people of all ages and abilities.

Foster innovative housing solutions.

Provide and advocate for diverse housing, which better reflects the spectrum of living, lifestyle and affordability options that a progressive and inclusive urban environment can offer.

Encourage productivity and innovation.

Recognise Onehunga’s contribution to the economy by supporting enterprising, productive and creative pursuits. Ensure these pursuits have mutual benefits for local and regional purposes.

Onehunga's town centre redevelopment

Creating an alluring town centre

Panuku will focus its initial efforts for change and transformation within Onehunga’s town centre. The town centre already has a good vibe and a distinctive character. Its main street, Onehunga Mall, is home to several heritage buildings, while a mixture of diverse land uses and community and business activities add to the centre’s energy and appeal.

We’ll build on this existing character to make Onehunga’s town centre a place where people want to visit and stay, live, work and play. We envisage an exciting variety of shops and eateries, attractive high-quality public spaces, improved community facilities and more recreational opportunities.

To achieve this we will locate community facilities in a cluster within the ‘Municipal Block’ between Church, Princes and Selwyn streets. Adding to the popular library and vibrant community centre with further community and recreational facilities will create a focus within the town centre – a community heart where all ages can meet and participate in a range of activities and events.

We’ll build on Onehunga Mall’s colourful street-based character by promoting new development and activities in the blocks behind it. By filling out these blocks, and creating attractive links between and within them, we will make the most of this space and spread the existing buzz of the mall into the rest of the town centre.

Quality apartments within and along the fringes of the town centre blocks will help provide more housing choice for Onehunga residents. Having more people living within the centre will also enliven the streets and support local businesses.

Focusing on improvements and redevelopment in Onehunga’s town centre will provide the critical mass of people and activity needed to support planned investments in transport infrastructure. Among the transport projects proposed for within the next decade that will enhance the accessibility of the town centre are light rail, the new East–West Link and more-frequent heavy rail operations.

The role of Panuku

Panuku already controls significant landholdings, covering 3.8ha, in Onehunga’s town centre.

Together, these sites have the potential to deliver around 720 new residential units and 13600sqm of new retail and commercial space, as well as numerous upgraded and enhanced public spaces.

Our role is to lead change and investment through initiatives and projects that enliven public areas, deliver development and inspire other landholders to develop and participate in the transformation of Onehunga. 

The importance of place making – getting the community involved

Place making is a fundamental feature of the Panuku approach to regenerating centres. It is how we work with the community to ensure that any changes that happen in Onehunga are what the community wants and needs.

We work with communities to learn, test ideas and ensure regeneration fits with the characteristics of a place.

In line with this approach, one of our first initiatives has been to deliver the 312 Hub, a community artists’ collective, at a Panuku site in Paynes Lane. The collective provides a space where local creative youths can congregate, create and share.

It is envisaged that the collective will provide ongoing local and artistic input into our place making and community engagement activities.

One of the first projects planned is to enhance the pedestrian lanes that connect Onehunga Mall with the blocks behind it. By involving the 312 Hub, we give young people and local creatives an opportunity to express their artistic talents in transforming the identity of Onehunga’s built environment.

The first three years

Panuku has already completed preliminary design and development work for Panuku-controlled sites within the town-centre blocks north of Neilsen Street. The outcome will be a combined 7200sqm of new commercial and retail space, and 240 new residential units on these sites.

The exception is the Station Block, which requires input from Auckland Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Kiwi Rail, and will be affected by future transport infrastructure decisions.

The main development sites in the first three years will be within the Dress Smart and Waiapu Blocks, at the northern end of the town centre. We are negotiating with key landowners in these blocks, who are looking to expand and redevelop their retail operations and are interested in participating in the transformation process.

We will work with private landholders to facilitate redevelopment. We will also support their investment by improving public areas and laneways within the blocks. 

The medium to long term

In the medium to long term, our focus will extend to the remaining town centre blocks.

All of the blocks will benefit from works to improve the safety and appearance of public areas. Other specific projects on Panuku-controlled sites include:

  • Municipal Block – creation of a civic heart in the town centre, with a proposed new youth park and enhanced library plaza
  • Station Block – planning and design to support the development of an integrated transport hub
  • Church and Princes streets – streetscape enhancements and development to integrate with future transport and infrastructure projects.

Together, it is estimated that these developments on Panuku-controlled sites will provide an additional 473 residential units, 3200sqm of retail and commercial floor space, and 2000sqm of new and revamped community recreation areas. 

What’s happening beyond the town centre?

Although the town centre is the focus for the next three years, there are plenty of plans for the rest of Onehunga once key transport and infrastructure projects have been confirmed. These plans will progress the remaining key moves.


Panuku is awaiting details of the major infrastructure projects planned for Onehunga. As we gain more certainty around what these projects will look like, we will work with the other stakeholders involved to extract the maximum benefit for Onehunga from them. Identified hot-spots most affected by infrastructure developments are Neilson Street and the town centre areas south of it, Old Māngere Bridge and the harbour front. 

Housing and transport in Onehunga

Local connections

We have already started place making activities and collaborations in Onehunga. We’ve identified several desirable civic and public space projects, although many of these rely on the transport picture becoming clearer. Particular areas of interest are the connection between Onehunga Wharf and Māngere Bridge, and with the future housing redevelopment planned for Oranga. 


We’re working with Auckland Council and HLC to review the parks, community facilities and local amenities that are available in areas earmarked for housing intensification (in particular, Oranga). Good connections between these new residential areas, the town centre and rest of Onehunga will be vital. We’re also focusing on residential developments in the town centre, with the aim to provide diverse and affordable housing options. 

Onehunga's local economy

The local economy

We’re working to understand and promote the distinct economy that currently exists in Onehunga. This economy is distinguished by its industrial, creative and innovative nature. We’re discussing the placement of industrial land and the potential to create hubs of business and activity, based around particular industries.

The vision for Onehunga Wharf

Onehunga Wharf

Panuku recently purchased the Onehunga Wharf, meaning we can progress our plans to redevelop it as a water’s-edge destination. Mana whenua are also interested in development opportunities at the wharf and we will work closely with them. We will also continue to promote the wharf as a location for a light-rail stop. 

What happens next?

Many of our transformative plans for Onehunga depend on gaining greater certainty about the infrastructure projects planned for the area in the future.

These projects are still being progressed, but we anticipate we will have a clearer idea of their final form by the end of 2018.

In the meantime, as well as working on the revitalisation of Onehunga’s town centre, we will continue with our place making activities, and our community and stakeholder conversations to gain a clearer picture of what form transformation in Onehunga should take.

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


We love getting your feedback and ideas. If you have any questions, complaints or compliments please get in touch.

Ground floor, 82 Wyndham Street, City centre

PO Box 90343

Auckland Mail Centre

Auckland 1142

The Panuku Development Auckland reception is monitored 9am - 5pm weekdays only.

Phone: +64 9 336 8820

If you are a tenant please contact Auckland Council on 09 301 0101 and they will direct your call to the correct property manager.

Useful numbers:

Auckland Council - 09 301 0101

Auckland Harbour Master - 09 362 0397

Pollution Control Hotline - 09 377 3107

Westhaven Marina - 09 360 5870

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