I enjoyed a fabulous day out at Kirkbride Rd/SH20A on Friday, representing Bike Auckland and witnessing a big step closer to making Mangere the biking capital of the Pacific. First off: the opening event for a new stretch of cycleway.

The initial section is not that long, but makes up for it by being super smooth riding and a really good width. Note also the classy planting and bespoke fencing…

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Kids’ bikes lined up, ready to ride as soon as the ribbon is cut!

Best of all, the cycleway connects to the Williams Park path beside George Bolt Drive and Bader Drive, and is handy to Mangere Central Primary School. Looking forward to the next stage of the full SH20A project, which will create a full off-road biking connection taking us even closer to the airport – and improved cycling facilities on the new Kirkbride Rd bridge, linking to the Primary School and towards Mangere Bridge.

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Teau, Barb, and some of the kids, making the ‘T’ for Time To Thrive, the Triple Teez motto – (keep up with their impressive activities here)

Friday’s event was full of highlights – a stirring chant from Teau ‘Mr T’ Aiturau and his Mangere BikeFIT team, the fun of cutting the ribbon, the gathering of the little kids and their aunties from the local Kohanga Reo, and this stunning cake made by NZTA’s Barbara Ware (who is usually seen working with the Causeway Alliance team on the NW Motorway and cycleway upgrades).

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Sweet cake, Barbara!

It was terrific to feel immersed in the culture of Mangere. I take my hat off to the Auckland NZTA office’s success in making all of their opening events reflect the character of the local community. (Special praise to Leone Hansen who is the project Stakeholder Manager and creative talent for this event.)

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Kids from Mangere Central School waiting to help cut the ribbon (photo: Teau Aiturau)

Teau shared the joy in the event and prospect of more to come:

Can’t wait till all the good work of SH20A is completed, and I hope there are more of these shared paths and cycle lanes going up in Mangere. Thank you NZTA, and Bike Auckland. Also Future Streets will be launching in September – be great to have all the Bike Burbs come along.

He’s a ‘poster child’ for bike culture in the neighborhood…

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Yep, that’s Teau in the poster, too. (Photo from an earlier visit to the workshop at Mangere Community House)

…and he’s massively active in so many biking activities across Mangere. He shared this report on some exciting developments:

At moment I’m doing some work with Counties Manukau Sports in at Mangere East Primary teaching Pedal Power Bike Skills, and I hope to visit more schools in the coming months.

I’m also coordinating a plan for a Bike Track in Mangere Centre Park (next to our bike HQ at the Community House). The AECOM team is drafting up a design concept for us, and I’m presenting to Local Board this Wednesday evening on what our community needs in the way of bike facilities in the park. We’re thinking BMX track, pump track, learn to ride for little kids, a circuit track – the works!

I met another local gem at the cycleway opening event, riding on one of Mr T’s reconditioned red postie bikes. Lasene helps Mr T marshall the children on his rides, and brings her grandchildren riding in the weekends.

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Lasene: “It’ll be so easy to ride to work at the airport when the path is complete.”

I discovered that Lasene is a powerful example to local people that biking is for everyone when we took a quick tour of the Mangere Future Streets project (see maps and updates here – it’s nearly ready for its grand opening next week). As we rode past the bus stop at Mangere Town Centre, people waiting for the bus applauded as Lasene passed by!

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A tour of the Future Streets project – note the protected bike lane.

Losene says she is loving being more active in her life, and as well as biking whenever she can, she’s a regular attendee at the free Zumba classes that are held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the centre of the Town Centre. Of course, when we found a class in progress we had to stop and join in…

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Free Zumba class at the Mangere Town Centre (photo: Teau Aiturau)
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The beat and fun was so irresistible!

Speaking of joining in – watch this space for news of the Future Streets Project official opening. It’ll be a red letter day you won’t want to miss.

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South Auckland
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