Panuku Development Auckland

15 January 2018

Two humble Henderson carparks recently became a focus of international attention. 

They’re among the most picturesque carparks in Auckland – the Falls carpark boasts two towering Kauri and across the road, the Alderman carpark nestles into the Oratia Stream – but that’s not behind their elevated status.  

Both have been nominated by Auckland for the global C40 Reinventing Cities competition. Which means in time they could be innovative, world-leading carbon neutral development.

‘Reinvention’ is a funny term. It implies going back to first principles, un-picking the logic we base decisions on, and coming up with something smarter. When it comes to the challenges involved in tackling climate change, ‘reinventing’ is exactly what we need to do.

Adapting to a fast-changing world where the pace and predicted impacts are still not fully understood means re-thinking how we design and build, how we move, how we consume. Even further, reducing emissions – evolving to a carbon neutral society that doesn’t contribute to climate change – will take drastic re-invention. 

Auckland was invited to take part in this global exercise in reinvention, by C40. Driven by mayors, C40 is a network of cities around the world working together to combat climate change. It’s a hefty group, with more than 90 city members that account for 25% of global GDP and collectively home 1 in 12 of the world’s population.

Auckland is privileged to be a C40 member not because we have scale – as many mega-city members do – but because we’re prepared to innovate.

The way that C40’s Reinventing Cities programme works, is that cities nominate sites they’d like developed along carbon neutral principles, and bids are invited from project teams to design, develop and purchase the sites.

Why Henderson, and why these carparks? The first question is easy. More than a decade of strategic planning has identified the opportunity for Henderson to be an ‘urban eco-centre’, a vision captured in the overarching regeneration plan for the area.

Henderson is adjacent to the Waitakere Ranges and Hikurangi, with a long history of local conservation effort and restoration. It has the natural assets of the Twin Streams – Wai Horotiu (or Oratia) and Opanuku – which have huge ecological and cultural value to mana whenua. ‘Enhancing the mauri of the Twin Streams’ is an essential part of the development vision.   

This ‘eco-centre’ focus is envisaged to act as a catalyst for high-quality development that will attract families, businesses, investors and visitors. An opportunity like Reinventing Cities is a perfect fit with these ambitions. (In line with the vision for Henderson, we’ve specified that these sites need to be developed as homes).

At a more specific level, both the carparks are close to the Westwave Pool, a huge local energy user. Panuku along with Watercare and Auckland Council’s community facilities team is investigating the feasibility of capturing and using the waste heat as a carbon neutral energy source for development nearby. Plus, there’s the bonus of planned cycleways running right alongside the sites, allowing for sustainable transport options.

These Henderson carparks have huge potential, and an exciting future. Auckland has called for expressions of interest from Reinventing Cities bidding teams - and we’re excited about the innovative responses that will come through. Over the next few months Panuku will host events and provide information for interested project teams.

We’re anticipating an eventual project that’s an asset for Henderson as well as Auckland – and importantly, can help push the bounds of ‘reinvention’ across other areas.

The full Reinventing Cities design brief for Henderson can be viewed here.

Miranda James has spent more than a decade working in the field of sustainability, clean energy and low carbon business, with a focus on the built environment. At Panuku Development Auckland she works with project teams and partners as Head of Corporte Responsibility to help ensure Auckland’s new homes, workplaces and neighbourhoods are fit for the future.   


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


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