Eke Panuku Development Auckland, along with its mana whenua partners, has been recognised for leading the regenerative design of Northcote’s future greenway – Te Ara Awataha. The project won the GHD Award for Environmental Leadership at the 2021 Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards.
Te Ara Awataha is a crucial project to deliver the Eke Panuku urban regeneration strategy in Northcote and is being jointly delivered with Auckland Council, Healthy Walters and Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. Mana whenua and Kaipātiki Local Board are also key partners on the project.
Mana whenua gifted the project name Te Ara Awataha, which means the path of the Awataha. The name reflects the cultural and spiritual importance of the historical river that ran through the area.
Mana whenua have developed a cultural and environmental assessment tool called Take Mauri Take Hono to inform the restoration of the stream and associated public realm projects. Take Mauri Take Hono establishes social and environmental baselines and aspirations to improve the vitality and mauri of the space.
Once Te Ara Awataha is complete, a 1.5-kilometre network of new reserves will be established through the Northcote neighbourhood. The reserves will connect the town centre, schools and new homes and daylight the historical Awataha Stream. The project seeks to resolve long-standing stormwater issues in Northcote while creating a valued and resilient environmental asset.
The GHD Award for Environmental Leadership is a new category this year. It recognises programmes, projects, or initiatives that provide tangible benefits to the environment, or showcase leading practice in managing environmental impacts in the local community.
“It is a great honour for Eke Panuku to receive this award on behalf of the wider project team and partners without whom this work would not be possible,” says Kate Cumberpatch, Eke Panuku Priority Location Director – North.
"This award represents an ongoing commitment by all of us to bring back life to the Awataha Stream and revitalise the Northcote town centre for this growing community."
Te Ara Awataha is nested within the Eke Panuku Development Auckland larger Unlock Northcote programme, which is working toward creating a low carbon, transport orientated town centre, with great walking and cycling connections.
“Seeing the stream come to light and the quality of urban design involved in achieving this award-winning project is certainly worthy of acknowledgement. Te Ara Awataha will enhance the Northcote community and provide the open environment we will all enjoy,” says Danielle Grant, deputy chair of the Kaipātiki Local Board.
The regenerative design of Te Ara Awataha captured the judge’s attention for its interweaving of Te Ao Māori, urban design and environmental remediation principles.
In their feedback, they noted, “It’s a collaborative piece of placemaking that goes beyond a physical corridor to employment, social procurement, and educational objectives. The project also demonstrates regard for all four dimensions of well-being.”
Eke Panuku is an inaugural winner of this award and, as noted by Taiturarā, it is also the first time since 2012 that a council-controlled organisation has won an Excellence Award.
More information on Te Ara Awataha project can be found here.