With 2017 coming to a close, it’s certainly been an action-packed year for the organisation and for me personally having started my journey in the Panuku waka just over 12 months ago.
During that time, I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the different parts of the city and in the process developing a real appreciation for the fantastic outdoorsy, culturally-rich lifestyle that Tamaki Makarau offers (especially now that summer has well and truly arrived!)
It’s easy to take our lifestyle for granted but the real challenge over the next decade is to take a long-term view to ensure we both celebrate and preserve this lifestyle as the region grapples with phenomenal growth.
Urban regeneration has a critical role to play by helping improve our way of living across the board by revitalising existing urban areas. It’s about taking an integrated rather than a piecemeal approach, preserving the essence of what makes a place great and then fusing that with transport, housing options and public spaces to ensure a quality of life for generations to come.
As with most things, it starts with a healthy diet of planning. And the team has certainly been busy over the last 12 months, with the roll out of over-arching plans for Avondale, Henderson, Onehunga and Old Papatoetoe. These essentially provide the blueprint for how the areas will be revitalised. It’s no mean feat pulling them together and it’s been great to galvanise communities - getting them excited about the possibilities urban regeneration brings.
The revitalisation of Wynyard Quarter has continued at great pace this year. The opening of the Mason Brothers building and the expansion of the Grid AKL innovation precinct have been big milestones for the area and great examples of repurposing a heritage building into thriving new co-working spaces. In December we saw the first residents move in to the Wynyard Central development, marking another major step for the area as it moves from being an extension of the city centre to a thriving self-sufficient suburb. The development rolls on too with the Park Hyatt hotel rising up in its prime site overlooking Viaduct Harbour, and the next phase of residential, 30 Madden Street, now on the market.
As we look further afield, exciting times are in store for the waterfront/city centre at large with a number of projects to improve the public spaces and infrastructure set to get underway. The 36th edition of a certain sailing regatta is providing a key impetus for these projects and we’ve been working closely with central Government and Auckland Council to make sure the city’s hosting of the America’s Cup in 2021 is a resounding success.
Residential development hasn’t just been limited to Wynyard Quarter this year either with 102 of more than 600 homes underway in the Airfields at Hobsonville Point. Construction also began on the Set development in Avondale, new homes are about to start popping up in Stanmore Bay and consents were issued for 40 housing older for people units in Henderson.
However it’s not just about the quantity of homes as we’re acutely aware the quality is critical. That’s why we made the call in November to set a requirement of at least 6 Homestar for houses built across our key development locations. With the Homestar stamp of approval, new homes will be warm, dry and better places to live and families living in them will also be saving hundreds of dollars a year in electricity bills.
Equally important to what has been delivered is how we’ve sought to deliver. A collaborative approach has been key and illustrated by large consultations this year in Panmure, Takapuna and Old Papatoetoe. There’s always going to be challenges and points of disagreement with some in the communities we are looking to help revitalise, but we’ll always do our best to acknowledge a variety of viewpoints and suggest outcomes that are best for the whole community well into the future.
None of this could happen of course without adequate funding and Panuku has contributed to the council coffers with a return of $76.8 million from our property disposals over the financial year ending in June - well above the $50 million target.
All in all, it’s been an exciting year for Panuku, including a move to a new office in the CBD. I’m hugely proud of what has been achieved by the organisation and at an individual level with particular accolades for key team members – Rod Marler, winning the Urban Design Award at the Auckland Property People Awards and Anna Wallace, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Construction Professional of the Year, while the Marinas team was handed the RICS Facilities Management Team of the Year award.
2018 is set to be another big one for Panuku and we look forward to working in partnership with the new Government to deliver our regeneration projects across Auckland. But that’s for next year, and as we go into the Christmas break, I ask you to have a think about what you love about your lifestyle and the community in which you live because urban regeneration is about all of us.
Meri Kirihimete and Happy New Year!
Panuku Chief Executive