Tens of thousands of tonnes of peat are being dug out to complete a massive 2.3km wetland stormwater channel which is opening boggy rural land for new housing to help transform this part of Takanini into a modern eco-friendly community – and also prevent flooding.
As winter sets in, the channel is taking shape. Construction of the boardwalks, cycleways, weirs and bridges is moving ahead. Digging out of peat from the swamp, enough to fill thousands and thousands of trucks, has brought the past into the present as hundreds of millennia-old kauri are uncovered.
Some of the kauri have been selected by iwi for carving and creating artwork in the urban wetland, but many of the bigger stumps which cannot be moved by man or machine are being left in situ to form part of the channel’s natural eco-system.
The area is designated as part of the Takanini Strategic Housing Area and this project will enable housing development to support a growing community of up to 15,000 people.
“The project adheres to Te Aranga design principles developed by five mana whenua with whom we collaborate and consult. These principles are fundamental to each element of the design of the waterway,” says Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters Stage One Project Manager, Tony Morley.
“The physical design and the materials used for the 3.3km of walkways, seven boardwalks, bridges, weirs and fish passages, way-finding signs and the native plantings all adhere to distinct themes and motifs, all with the aim of connecting people to place and to nature.”
Completion of the massive first stage of the project, construction of the T-shaped channel and surrounds, is targeted for May 2020 with work on the two final stages expected to finish in 2023.
The Awakeri Wetlands Project is a critical part of Auckland Council’s investment of around $100 million in upgrading the Takanini stormwater network to enable more land to be made available for housing development in line with the Unitary Plan while protecting people and property from flooding.