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Ready to race

Published: 10 December 2020

Tāmaki Makaurau is ready to welcome the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada to the Waitematā once more with the completion of the syndicate infrastructure and extended Silo Park.

Clocking up over a million work hours, the Wynyard Edge Alliance (WEA) team completed the works, on time, on budget, and with an impeccable safety record, despite the COVID-19 lockdown.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he is pleased with the result.

“I congratulate the Wynyard Edge Alliance for completing this infrastructure on time and on budget, despite the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 lockdowns,” he says.

“This was a strong effort by a 1000-strong team that has supported hundreds of local contractors and is a good example of what can be achieved through collaboration between the public and private sectors.”

The Alliance brought together Auckland Council, Panuku Development Auckland, New Zealand Government and McConnell Dowell, Downer, Beca, and Tonkin+Taylor into a collective effort where all shared the risks and rewards of the job. The formation of WEA in March 2018 started the construction that led to the finish line.

The milestones included ensuring that the inner basins had tranquil water for ease of racing yacht navigation; forming the bases for the challengers with the least possible incursion into the Waitematā Harbour; construction of a new stormwater drain outfall to significantly improve water quality in the viaduct basin; creating new on-water public spaces; railing around the quays to keep large crowds of spectators safe; upgrading all the utility services and pontoons for visiting yachts and pleasure craft; shifting the SeaLink ferry to a new operational base – and gently moving a very large colony of gulls to a new home.

The popular Silo Park has been extended to provide a new public space for Aucklanders to enjoy and features a pavilion designed by Tessa Harris Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, called Te Nukuao. Te Nukuao, which means ‘shelter’, reflects the sails of the waka hourua connection between the land, the sea and the long legacy of seagoing voyages.

The surfacing of the public space also includes design by Reuben Kirkwood of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki. ‘Te Waka o Te Rangi’ surface design references an ancient star map which resembles a great waka in the sky. The constellations which make up this map are sandblasted into the concrete surface of the Silo Park extension.

Auckland Council's director of infrastructure and environmental services Barry Potter, is very pleased with the performance of the integrated public and private sector team.

“The alliance framework has pushed us together and delivered speed and quality when it was needed.

"The pressure of an extremely short timeframe forced by fixed deadlines with constrained budgets, has galvanised the team to be innovative and decisive, to ensure the country can host this prestigious event and to leave a legacy that all Aucklanders can be proud of.”

WEA project director Kurt Grant agrees, saying “We are very pleased to hand over renewed assets to our client – completed to a high standard, saving time and money; and a very high safety standard. It’s great to see the racing teams and the public making use of the infrastructure that we’ve provided through this incredible project.

“We have endeavoured to create waterfront that Aucklanders and visitors to our shores would love and we are proud to leave a lasting legacy for all Kiwis to enjoy for many years to come.”

With teams now out on the Waitematā Harbour practising, the build-up for the Prada America’s Cup World Series Auckland and Prada Christmas Race is set to take place 17-20 December 2020.

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