Newmarket hotspot Teed Street has been transformed under Waitematā Local Board’s Laneways Plan.
Left with a network of narrow pathways, relics of the area’s light industrial past, pedestrians were forced to squeeze by cars or chance a dart up the road.
But paths have more than doubled in width, from 1.6m to 3.8m on the northern side, and from 2.3m to 5.5m on the southern, creating a safe and pedestrian-friendly area.
“It’s going to make a positive impact,” Newmarket Business Association CEO Mark Knoff-Thomas says.
New street furniture dots the area, outdoor dining capacity is increased, native trees and shrubs have been extensively planted, and a Ray Haydon sculpture graces the street.
Even the gardens are up-market; the latest innovation features 'bio-retention' rain gardens designed to help improve stormwater quality.
Plants have been selected by iwi and Auckland Council arborists for their suitability for an urban environment, seasonal display, growing habits, and cultural significance.
Māori called the area, particularly the south of the current Newmarket, Te Tī Tūtahi – 'the cabbage tree standing alone', or 'the cabbage tree of singular importance'.
The name referenced a tree that stood on the corner of Mortimer Pass and Broadway until 1908 (other references have it at the Clovernook Road and Broadway corner).
Some of the cabbage trees returned to Teed Street are directly descended from that tree.
Alfred Buckland, one of Auckland’s most substantial landowners, and with his wife Eliza and their 21 children, the owner of Highwic House, took seed from the tree, transferring plants around Newmarket and as far away as Bucklands Beach.
Council arborists sourced progeny so that today Te Tī Tūtahi descendants grace the area.
Te Tī Tūtahi stands proudly in photographs taken of the 40th South Lancashire Regiment encamped there in the 1860s, while Buckland’s Highwic, one of New Zealand’s finest timber Gothic houses, was begun in 1862, extended in 1873, and remained in the family until sold in 1978, and today serves as a functions venue and is open to the public.
“Now that it’s all finished, we want people to come and enjoy the new streetscape,” Mr Knoff-Thomas says.
As one of Auckland’s premier retail centres, the laneways that run off Broadway have increasingly become home to boutique retail, cafe and restaurant spaces.
Waitematā Local Board chair Pippa Coom says the board worked closely with the Newmarket Business Association throughout the upgrade.
“It’s a beautiful and welcoming space that can only add to the area’s quality reputation,” she says.
“Teed Street and Newmarket are premier shopping venues, so continuing to create more people friendly, accessible spaces is critical to our shopper experience.”
The upgrade is one of the projects identified in the Newmarket Laneways Plan, and the design was developed after public feedback, site investigations, and property and business consultation.
Common themes included support for wider footpaths, trees, public seating and an activity zone supporting outdoor dining.
“We have plenty of parking, as well as the nearby Rialto carpark, so everyone can get on and enjoy the upgraded street as we head into the busiest shopping time of the year,” Mr Knoff-Thomas says.