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Waitemata Plaza Trial

Getting the most out of our waterfront is extremely important and it’s good to see that Waterfront Auckland are taking that seriously by trialling changes to Waitemata Plaza to make it more attractive.

Waitemata Plaza was built in the 1990s as part of the Viaduct Harbour development in time for the America’s Cup. The Plaza was intended as a space for outdoor events. Since then, the surrounding area has been developed with apartments and new businesses and Waitemata Plaza has proven to be a largely uninviting, underutilized space.

Public feedback to the Waterfront Plan indicated strong support for more green space on the waterfront and Waitemata Plaza is a great place to make this happen.

If you’re not sure where Waitemata Plaza is, it’s highlighted below.

Waitemata Plaza

And here’s an image from Waterfront Auckland as to how it looks now, very open and not that inviting

To try and improve the plaza, Waterfront Auckland are running a series of three one month long trials to see what people like and what works best. Here is a video they have created to explain what they’re doing.

Now if only we could get the Council and Auckland Transport to trial things like this.

12 comments to Waitemata Plaza Trial

  • My mother attended the opening of this plaza, and memorably described it to me as Skin Cancer Plaza. She refuses to go back – there is zero shade and it is very exposed to the northern sun. I can see why it’s not well used. No-one has wanted to do anything to remedy the situation i.e. put in shade sails, on account of the apartment block immediately adjacent, the occupants who would I suspect launch a very aggressive campaign against anything that might block their view.

  • It’s an interesting one, I pass through all the time on lunchtime walks but I’ve never been tempted to stay – it is very barren an unwelcoming. Not sure there is an especially good reason to stay though, the views are especially great and there is not much nearby. If it was a big grassed/planted area with shade it would be a great summer spot though.

  • Dave M

    Aren’t Waterfront Auckland a CCO and therefore part of “Council”?

    • Steve D

      Yes and no, in a complex way that depends on the situation.

      Individual employees all work specifically for “Waterfront Auckland” or “Auckland Council”, they’re separate organisations with separate management, etc. Rather like, say, NZTA and the Ministry of Transport are separate organisations, even though they’re both part of the government.

    • NIck

      Yes, to all intents and purposes they are subsidiary organisations of Auckland Council, although they might not see it that way. They rely on ratepayer funding and ultimately have Council oversight.

  • Gary Young

    I would think residents in the surrounding apartments would not be keen on any changes that encouraged crowds to gather since crowds imply noise. I’m sure they would also be very unhappy with a public space that could conceivably be used for formal or council sponsored events.

    • bbc

      Yes and no, some may see it that way, others may see it as creating a better used space that would increase the sense of safety when walking around the area in the evenings.

  • So, here’s the learning: Get the public realm stuff in place before the apartments fill up with people who are going to give themselves a heightened sense of of ownership and control over what is, in fact, everyone’s.

  • bbc

    I assume Te Wero Island is the next public realm to be improved? Waitemata Plaza may not be all that inviting but at least it’s not used as a huge carpark. People even drive and park on the tiny strip of footpath on Te Wero. But perhaps I’m being ridiculous, that parking is critical, the Downtown Carpark and Viaduct Capark are far to far away for people to walk from.

  • Jonski

    I remember seeing it in the original plans when the area was developed. I recall it was drawn as being covered in grass. Can anybody dredge that up from the archives?

  • Sigmund

    They need grass, a smoking ban and leafy, shady trees that aren’t NZ natives (another stupid Council policy – anyone for more uninviting cabbage trees?). The same needs to happen at Britomart, QE2 “Square”, Queen’s Wharf and pretty much every shared space (just remove the damn cars already) in the city. But it won’t.

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