A Māngere alleyway is no longer dark and dingy thanks to the efforts of local resident Jenna Jacobsen Toeono, with the help of Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board, members of Jenna’s family, The Cause Collective, neighbours of McKinstry Ave Māngere, and I AM Māngere.
For many years, families either side of the old alleyway lived with ongoing issues including disorderly behaviour, angry drunks, loud sirens, loitering, vandalism and unauthorised activity, which led Jenna Toeono to act. Jenna’s family has been living next to the narrow alleyway, which runs between McKinstry Ave and Cottingham Cres in Māngere East, for the past 35 years.
Jenna, a mother herself, plays the role of caretaker and “reports on illegal dumping, overgrown vegetation and helps out with maintenance”.
Obvious signs of wear and tear from more than 40 years of public misuse and an unstable fence line posed a potential health and safety risk for commuters.
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local board Chair Tauanu’u Bakulich says, “As part of the safe and resilient communities programme, the aim is to support families to thrive and empower people to live in safe neighbourhoods”.
Jenna approached the board in February 2022 and applied for a community grant. In April 2022, momentum picked up and on 24 September 2022 the alleyway fence was completed underbudget.
“The project’s actual spend was below the quoted amount with the remaining balance returned to the council. Building materials sourced locally from Māngere Timber and work was carried out by three members of my family with quality workmanship”, Jenna says.
Tauanu’u praises Jenna’s efforts saying, “Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local board is very proud of Jenna’s efforts in not only leading the project from start to end, but also in her due diligence in being able to document progress over the years, as well as her character of perseverance. It’s people like Jenna who make our communities that much better and safer”.
The alleyway is neatly kept and now has a blue coloursteel fence line that is 35 meters long. Frequented by school children from Mary Mackillop and Southern Cross frequent users, Jenna’s daughter enjoys walking through the alleyway with the beautiful blue fence.