A celebration of the transformed Teed Street and a blessing of a Ray Haydon sculpture that stands at its heart was held in July.
Extensively redeveloped in line with Waitematā Local Board’s Laneways Plan, the Newmarket hotspot features innovative urban design that also returns progeny of Te Tī Tūtahi – a cabbage tree that stood on the corner of Mortimer Pass and Broadway until 1908 (some references place it at the Clovernook Road/Broadway corner).
Māori called the area, particularly the part south of the current Newmarket, Te Tī Tūtahi – ‘the cabbage tree standing alone’, or ‘the cabbage tree of singular importance’.
When the tree was felled in 1908, Auckland businessman Alfred Buckland, who with his wife Eliza and their 21 children lived at Highwic House, took seeds, transferring plants around Newmarket and as far away as Bucklands Beach.
Council arborists sourced progeny so that today Te Tī Tūtahi descendants again grace the area.
Sculpture references significant tree
Haydon’s sculpture references the tree, with the red ribbon of steel atop the artwork representing the significant contribution made by the Chinese business community for many years, and the ribbon itself reflecting the dynamic ebb and flow of the precinct. The steel plinth it rests upon is a nod to the industrial steelworks that operated for many years close by.
Waitematā Local Board Chair Pippa Coom says the project was made possible with support from the Newmarket Business Association and the arts trust.
“So much thought went into this project to create a great street because it is what brings vibrancy and people into an area," she says.
“No project of this scale gets done without disruption, so the support the board has had from Newmarket has been invaluable. There’s little doubt what has been achieved proves supporting the vision we had was worthwhile.”
Newmarket undergoing change
Association CEO Mark Knoff-Thomas said Newmarket was undergoing enormous development and seeing the network of narrow pathways, relics of the area’s light industrial past that were hazardous to pedestrians, consigned to history was welcome.
“It’s already making a positive impact. People can freely move about the street, cross with safety, and spend more time checking out their favourite shops and cafes. We have landed on something we can all be immensely proud of.”
Paths in the area 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.
New street furniture has been provided, outdoor dining capacity increased, native trees and shrubs have been extensively planted, and Haydon’s sculpture graces the street.
Even the planting is high-tech, featuring ‘bio-retention’ rain gardens designed to help improve stormwater quality.
“Now that it’s all finished, we want everyone to enjoy it,” 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 outlets, cafes and restaurants. Ms Coom says the redeveloped space can only add to the area’s appeal.
“Teed Street and Newmarket are premier shopping venues, so continuing to create more people-friendly, accessible spaces is critical.”