17 November 2021

Green light for a greener Northcote

Green light for a greener Northcote

A neglected Significant Ecological Area (SEA) in Northcote is on track for a vital upgrade after the Kaipātiki Local Board approved the concept design for a restored Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve. The decision means we can move another step towards returning the Awataha Stream to good health.

Also known as Kākā Reserve, Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve is part of Te Ara Awataha - Northcote’s new greenway - and the source of the Awataha Stream. This design will help to restore the mauri (life essence) of the wai (water) and surrounding taiao (environment) by installing measures developed with mana whenua and their environmental experts. The upgrade includes stream restoration works, new native planting and improved amenity.

The reserve upgrade design, co-created by Auckland design studio Isthmus, incorporates a variety of features that will allow Northcote residents and visitors to enjoy this green jewel of Tāmaki Makaurau. New benches, educational signage, natured-centric play areas, exploration trails and recreation spaces will all lend the reserve a ‘backyard gathering space’ vibe. This will be a particular treat for those moving into the new houses on the adjoining Kākā Street as part of Kāinga Ora’s Northcote Development.

“This is a kaupapa which we’re really passionate about, as it will regenerate a degraded natural taonga and provide environmental benefits to this growing urban population. With mana whenua guidance and Kaipātiki Project’s restoration efforts, this upgrade will truly lift the mauri of this place,” enthused Sara Zwart, our principal regenerative design lead.

Kaipātiki Local Board Deputy Chair and Unlock Northcote Liaison Danielle Grant said: “This new Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve design is a strong step forward towards delivering a greener Northcote. We endorsed the high-level concept design and principles for Te Ara Awataha back in 2017, so this progress is invigorating. We look forward to seeing how we can work together to restore this natural asset back to its former glory.”

This project is led by Eke Panuku in partnership with mana whenua, Auckland Council's Healthy Waters and the Kaipātiki Local Board. It builds on three years of restoration work led by Kaipātiki Project, an environmental charity that boasts tremendous expertise in the regeneration of native biodiversity. Through the community-led restoration work on site we have been able to develop a close understanding of the reserve and surrounding neighbourhood, which has informed the upgrade design. Construction works are expected to commence in late 2022.

Kaipātiki Project’s placemaking efforts have recently been recognised through a Kūmara Award for "saving the world one place at a time". They will continue to play an important role moving forward to ensure that the community remain engaged and involved in the reserve restoration and wider Te Ara Awataha project.

For more information on our mahi in Northcote, visit www.panuku.co.nz/northcote

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