Te Ara Awataha wins big at prestigious engineering awards
23 June 2023
The work to rejuvenate a greenway in Northcote, Auckland, has been recognised at this year’s Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) NZ 2023 Asset Management Excellence Awards, with the project team taking home three awards.
Te Ara Awataha project was awarded the Excellence in Water, Best Infrastructure Project over $5 million and Asset Management Excellence Supreme Award at the event in Rotorua, which was attended by representatives from Kāinga Ora and its civil works alliance, Piritahi.
Te Ara Awataha project, undertaken as part of the Kāinga Ora Northcote Large-Scale Project, embodies the spirit of collaboration with input from mana whenua, Auckland Council Healthy Waters, Eke Panuku Development Auckland, local businesses, community groups, schools, residents and volunteers.
Te Ara Awataha is the name gifted by Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki to a 1.5km blue-green corridor linking existing parks, the town centre, schools and homes in Northcote. Described as ‘the backbone of the community’, the greenway connects people not just with their destination, but with nature.
The Awataha stream, piped underground for over 70 years, is now a place where wildlife can flourish, children can play and learn, and the community can connect. More than that, it is now also an integral part of Northcote’s stormwater network, a key feature which proved to be invaluable during the Auckland Anniversary floods.
Kāinga Ora General Manager Urban Development and Delivery, Mark Fraser says it is fantastic the project is being recognised for the multiple benefits it is bringing the community.
“Te Ara Awataha plays an essential role in the regeneration of Northcote, and it wouldn’t have been possible without strong partnership and collaboration.
“The original vision for Te Ara Awataha came from a group of local students during a workshop. They considered the possibility of the Awataha stream as a connected open space through the middle of Northcote.
“We worked with mana whenua, Eke Panuku and Auckland Council Healthy Waters to grow that idea into a reality, and partnered with the wider Auckland Council group, community groups and Isthmus, as well as Piritahi, Kaipātiki Project, local ecologists, schools and residents to make it happen.
“Now, not only is it a wonderful space for people to enjoy and an important part of the local stormwater network, it also a significant habitat for birds and other wildlife, including nationally threatened species like the kōkopu, kōura, and longfin eels.
“It really is a superb example of what can be achieved through successful collaboration, and we look forward to working with our partners on more projects of this kind in the future.”
Te Ara Awataha was nominated for the award by the Auckland civil design and construction alliance, Piritahi, which helped to deliver the project.
“We are privileged to deliver the Te Ara Awataha project on behalf of our alliance owner participant Kāinga Ora,” says Mark Crowle Piritahi Alliance General Manager.
“Strong collaboration continued during the construction phase as designers from Isthmus, the Alliance design, construction and ecology teams came together to resolve the restoration of the naturalised waterway.
Since the 1950s, the Awataha Stream had been confined underground. Part of the project involved ‘Daylighting’ the stream – opening it back up – increasing capacity and enabling the overland flow of water to travel through the stream corridor instead of neighbouring properties. Greenslade Reserve has also been lowered to detain water in major flood events, preventing flooding in the town centre.
“We are proud of the role we are playing to bring these well planned projects to the community”
While improving conditions for existing residents, this infrastructure work also supports Northcote’s growth – with Te Ara Awataha at the centre of 1,700 new public, market and affordable homes Kāinga Ora and its development partners are building in the area, and a further 800-1000 homes to be built as part of the town centre redevelopment by Eke Panuku.
Page updated: 23 June 2023