Tāmaki Makaurau today (18 December) celebrated the opening of Te Komititanga - a striking new people-friendly square – in the heart of the city’s downtown.
Te Komititanga – which means ‘to mix’ or ‘to merge’ in Māori – is designed for people on the move or for those who just want to stop and take a breather. It is ideally located in lower Queen Street next to two busy transport locations - the Britomart rail station and the ferry terminal across the road.
It has been delivered as part of the City Rail Link C1 Contract which includes new underground rail tunnels between Britomart and Albert Street and the restoration of the Chief Post Office which will house the Britomart Transport Centre.
Minister for Transport, Hon. Michael Wood says the opening is an exciting milestone for a project that will deliver significant benefits when it is complete.
“When complete in 2024, the City Rail Link will move the equivalent of 16 lanes of motorway at peak times, helping to reduce congestion and emissions.
“It’s already improving central Auckland with this brand new public space that people can enjoy in time for Christmas and the 36th America’s Cup,” says Mr Wood.
Mayor Phil Goff says Te Komititanga is a great new crossroads for Auckland where people will be able to enter and leave the city by ferry, bus and rail.
“It’s part of the heart of our city, a place where people can enjoy traffic-free spaces, gather and meet with friends, look out over the harbour and visit the fantastic new places to shop and eat,” he says.
“Together with the new harbourside park under construction and the reinvigoration of Quay Street, this area will be world class.
“It’s great to open Te Komititanga today in time for summer. It will be a gathering place for Aucklanders and New Zealanders, and when our borders reopen, for our international visitors as well.”
The name Te Komititanga was gifted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and City Rail Link’s Mana Whenua Forum before it was adopted by Auckland Council’s Waitematā Local Board in November this year.
Today (Friday 18 December) at dawn, mana whenua blessed Te Komititanga before the Minister and Mayor officially cut the ribbon and welcomed Aucklanders to use the square.
As well as the mixing of people, the name reflects the square’s location where the waters of Waitematā and Wai Horotiu, the stream that runs under Queen Street into the harbour, merged.
The square includes over 137,000 individual pieces of basalt pavers laid to incorporate mana whenua narratives. This includes a whāriki or welcome mat designed by Mana Whenua weavers to depict a woven harakeke (flax) mat that greets visitors to Tāmaki Makaurau from the sea. Other designs reference a meeting point of two waters, the Waitematā harbour and Wai Horotiu, before the area was reclaimed.
City Rail Link Ltd Chair, Sir Brian Roche says the project is committed to leaving behind community legacies that people will continue to enjoy long after the Project has ended.
“When we put down our spades and shovels, City Rail Link is determined to leave behind a better Auckland – above and below ground. I believe Te Komititanga and other locations where we’ve made a mark show that we mean business,” Sir Brian says.
Te Komititanga’s official opening marks the end of the first stage of a two stage programme of improvements in this area of downtown Auckland.
Stage Two includes works on sections of Tyler and Galway Streets, as well as the Britomart precinct and parts of Customs Street, scheduled for completion by the middle of next year. The work includes laying pavers, installing new street furniture, planting new trees, and laying foundations for a new plaza and pedestrian-friendly roads.
The reopening of the Chief Post Office is planned for next March. The exact timing is dependent on how long it will take to carry out tenancy fit outs on the historic building’s ground floor.
People can get more information on CRL at cityraillink.co.nz