Plans for Auckland Airport to invest in world-leading technology to improve environmental impacts on the Manukau have met with Manukau Harbour Forum approval.

The airport has learnt from Cyclone Gabrielle flooding and sustainability manager Ellie Callard recently addressed the forum to outline some of the steps it has taken to reduce the impact of future extreme events.

Harbour Forum chair Jon Turner says it’s fantastic to see the airport stepping up.

“What’s welcome is hearing Auckland Airport wants to take more responsibility for the environment. It remains committed to sustainability, where it already has a record of progress in emissions reductions, energy savings and waste management. The Manukau needs all the help it can get.”
Filtering systems will help clean stormwater run-off.

Filtering systems will help clean stormwater run-off.

With development plans in place for the coming decade, Ms Callard says the airport doesn’t want to do what it must, it wants to be a better neighbour to the harbour and environment.

“The floods showed us we had to do better, and we have been working on what that means.

“Airports by their nature are places with a lot of concrete, runways and buildings. But Auckland Airport also makes a huge investment in stormwater and we want to do it well.”

To that end, the airport is investing in world-leading technology designed to improve catchment, filtration and water quality discharge.

“We are more than just runways and terminals. We are a major landowner with about 20,000 people working on our sites every day. We are aware of our impact on the environment, and it’s influencing development,” she says.
e is inevitable at an airport, but moves are being taken to offset its impact.

Concrete is inevitable at an airport, but moves are being taken to offset its impact.

“We’ll be bringing the domestic and international terminals together and developing more hardstand for aircraft, something we want to offset in a smarter way than ever before.”

The airport plans to use biofiltering technology and improved wetland management techniques that will capture, retain and treat stormwater on site in a first for New Zealand.

But one of the problems wetlands bring is birdlife, something that poses an aviation risk.

“Today we can harness knowledge that allows us to attract birds to areas we want them in, but which will keep them away from runways. Our longer-term objective is to renew all our stormwater ponds to the latest standards.”

Partnerships between staff and community groups are undertaking clean-ups.

Partnerships between staff and community groups are undertaking clean-ups.

The airport is also working to restore contaminated land, historically used for firefighting training, and is working with iwi and community groups on coastal and community clean-ups, planting programmes and wildlife protection.

“It’s a case of don’t just do what’s required. We want to go beyond that so we can improve the outcomes for people and nature,” Callard says.

The Manukau Harbour Forum brings nine local boards that edge the harbour – Franklin, Papapkura, Manurewa, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, Ōtara-Papatoe, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki, Puketāpapa, Whau and Waitākere – together with Auckland Council, local groups, businesses, communities and iwi to help support and restore the health of the harbour.

Stay connected

Sign up for your Local Board E-news and get the latest news and events direct to your inbox each month. 

Back to News