Te Auaunga, also known as Oakley Creek, has a lot of fans. The waterway, its wildlife, and its waterfall have been rhapsodized in NZ Geographic. It’s cared for by the extremely dedicated Friends of Oakley Creek. And over a kilometre of the stream was recently daylighted and restored as part of the Waterview Connection.
Now, a further 1.5km of the waterway has been brilliantly revitalised through Walmsley and Underwood Parks in Wesley/ Mt Roskill, creating a natural green artery for the communities along the way. What began as a stormwater project to address flooding has resulted in a spectacular ecological restoration of the creek as it once was, with the bonus of all sorts of gorgeous new features as befitting a well-loved and well-used neighbourhood green space.
We covered an earlier stage of the project here; and you can find out some more of the history and ideas behind the project here. This 2016 fly-through video by Boffa Miskell gives you an idea of the ‘Before’ status of the creek – stuck in a concrete channel amidst plain mown grass, and prone to flooding.
Recently, Local Board deputy chair Julie Fairey has been tweeting Before and After comparison photos, as the project nears completion. Click on the tweet below to see the whole thread. It’s worth it!
Te Auaunga Project in Wesley is nearing completion – these pics show the same spot in Feb 2016 (before), July 2018, April 2019. The houses you can see on right are HNZ ones on McGechan Cl in Owairaka. 1/n (rest of thread later tonight) pic.twitter.com/4R0lT4cKay
— Julie Fairey (@juliefairey) April 29, 2019
On every level, this has been a powerfully energising project for Council, the Local Board, mana whenua, local schools, community organisations all the design and delivery partners, and the community at large, and the results are just stunning. It’s almost complete now, and will host a grand opening celebration on Saturday 6 July.
Our highest acclamations go to everyone who has worked for so many years to bring this vision to life, including our very own Richard Barter who was there at the inception as Puket?papa Local Board Chair. Kudos, and thank you, to everyone.
Already familiar to many as a handy local walk and cycle connection, the freshly replanted and radically redesigned pathway along the stream will attract weekend wanderers from further afield, especially with its new natural playground, cool pump/ skate track, and direct safe off-road cycling connection from the Waterview Path. Indeed, people on wheels are already discovering its charms…
Today the new cycleway through Underwood/Walmsley Parks, linking the SW cycleway to Mt Roskill, Wesley intermediate & Dominion Rd Safe routes was all open! (new section in pink).
So much safer, quicker and prettier than the alternative on road options pic.twitter.com/v2LMc5USLQ
— Sam Hood (@Samhood8) May 12, 2019
… and on a recent weekend, we took our own little explore-ride. The path was buzzing with all kinds of locals on foot and and on all kinds of wheels. Note, this is not a place to race through, but one where you’ll really want to slow down and admire the scenery and stop to explore the new features. (And yes, we’re following up on the question of non-slip treatments for those nice new boards underfoot).
Especially notable were the numbers of free-range kids exploring the new greenery, and family groups on the path. The Puketapapa Local Board area is home to one of Auckland’s most diverse communities, and the city’s largest settlement of new New Zealanders and former refugees. What a gift to have such a beautiful breathing space to share.
Check out the photos below; you’ll agree it’s looking absolutely glorious! Head on over and discover it soon.