Historic Auckland wharf sold to council
Onehunga Wharf has been bought by Auckland Council as it promises to redevelop it in a way that rivals the city’s Wynyard Quarter. Plans are to transform it into a new community with homes, cafes, retail and public space, while retaining its seafaring history and spirit.
“Onehunga Wharf is a historic part of Auckland and the Manukau Harbour. This purchase will enable us to protect and enhance this great part of our city,” says Mayor Phil Goff. “We want to ensure that this heritage, that has so much potential, is retained so Aucklanders can enjoy it for generations to come.
“We’ve been working for years on developing Onehunga’s potential as a key destination in Auckland. From the reclamation of Onehunga’s waterfront to the introduction of light rail, these changes will be transformative for Onehunga.”
The council’s redevelopment agency, Panuku Development Auckland, will lead the transformation. Public events or development on the site are up to five years away, as there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do. This includes negotiating usage with other key players such as NZTA, undertaking maintenance and upgrades and working with existing leaseholders. The wharf also has health and safety issues which need to be addressed.
Councillor Chris Darby, chair of council’s Planning Committee, says the site will play a key role in building on Onehunga’s strengths and revitalising the area.
“This site provides a great opportunity to rethink how Onehunga will reconnect and embrace its historic harbour-edge location. With the threat of the East-West Link severing the town from the waterfront removed, Onehunga Wharf can plan for a future as a magnet for Aucklanders, with the flavour of a new Wynyard Quarter," says Mr Darby.
"People can relax and socialise, or enjoy commercial, cultural and tourism activity – all right alongside the existing fishing industry.
“Auckland’s unique ‘three harbours’ context provides a multitude of waterfronts for Aucklanders to choose from – not just in our city centre. It’s important that we enrich these areas so that everyone has a waterfront they can enjoy.”
The council says the redevelopment of Onehunga will happen over the next 25 years. It will include creating high-quality public spaces, mixed styles of housing close to the town centre, facilitating improved public transport and better connections to the Manukau Harbour.
Panuku Design and Place director Rod Marler, says it will be important that any future development on the wharf maintains a strong connection to the Manukau Harbour and retains its history and authentic seafaring spirit.
“This landmark purchase is a critical component of the transformation of Onehunga. The wharf is the only west coast port in Auckland and has a rich and vibrant history dating back to pre-colonial times.
“Wynyard Quarter was a place where we successfully transformed the waterfront into a people-oriented place that is fully accessible to the public. We see similar potential in Onehunga,” Mr Marler says.