Oakley Creek

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Te Auaunga Oakley Creek

Boffa Miskell

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  • NZILA Award of Excellence / Parks — 2019
  • NZILA Category Winner / Sustainability — 2019
  • NZILA Award of Excellence / Te Karanga o te Tui — 2019
Oakley Creek
Oakley Creek

Te Auaunga is an Auckland Council Healthy Waters project in Mt Roskill, Auckland that prevents flooding from nearly 200 homes in three Local Board areas, enables housing intensification in a brownfield site, and established a river park along Te Auaunga.

The project restored 1.5km of Te Auaunga, daylighted seven piped tributaries, restored eight hectares of open space, and treated the water quality of the contributing catchment. The project includes shared pathways and pedestrian bridges, community orchards, an outdoor classroom, and community fale and atea space.

Natural play areas were introduced, with ngā taonga tākaro to interpret the environmental and cultural narratives of the site. Collaborative design was undertaken with mana whenua, the local community, Local Boards, CCOs, HNZC, Schools, Artists, and the Auckland Council ‘family’. This was facilitated through design workshops, a community liaison group, governance meetings, public open days, and school workshops to ensure all views were considered within the project objectives and final design.

Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell

Judges Citation: Award of Excellence, PARK
Te Auaunga Oakley Creek is a superb example of a design-led & holistic approach to landscape architecture. The project combines landscape, ecology, cultural, engineering and community considerations to create a beautiful recreational asset for local residents while also providing a functional and resilient drainage infrastructure solution.

The project has injected significant energy into a public open space that was previously underutilised. Through working closely with local residents and local iwi through the design and implementation, the landscape architects have transformed the area into a playful and unique community park with strong community buy in. Generous native planting, boardwalks, stream crossings and natural playground elements create a relaxed and playful atmosphere. By working with the lava flow rock forms and timbers uncovered during construction of the stream corridor, the designers have allowed the natural landscape to be revealed and inform the final park layout. Subtle but effective references to cultural narratives and local stories are beautifully executed to create a unique and rich local identity for this park space.

Te Auaunga Oakley Creek illustrates how a high quality design can be created without a massive budget. The project will provide long lasting enhancement to ecological and social sustainability in the Mt Roskill area, and is thoroughly deserving of this Award of Excellence.

Judges Citation: Category Winner, SUS
Te Auaunga Awa Oakley Creek Park embodies the principles of sustainable management and has been well conceived from the outset, with clear goals and objectives to achieve sustainability outcomes through a variety of initiatives and at a range of scales.

Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell

The landscape architects involved have clearly been instrumental in leading the design process and guiding their client and others on the project team to achieve these goals. The completed project outwardly demonstrates sustainable management of the landscape, achieved through the restoration of natural processes, ecology and natural character, remedying past land management mistakes. Natural materials and bio-engineering techniques enable the rehabilitation of a previously degraded urban waterway through stream daylighting and appropriate planting (locally sourced and grown), assist with flood management and mitigation. Active mana whenua and community engagement, involvement and education has also been instrumental in promoting the sustainability benefits of this transformational project. Coupled with the natural restoration initiatives, the project also delivers wider community benefits in the form of improved access and connectivity via new pathways and opportunities for active and passive recreation, alongside improved amenity values for local people and visitors to the area. The project establishes a long-term approach towards landscape management and ensures the benefits adopted will continue to mature and evolve to bring a richness to this landscape and help to heal not only the site, but also the wider catchment.

The project outcome at Te Auaunga Oakley Creek is one that “walks the talk”achieving comprehensive restoration of the landscape and being a best practice example of sustainable land management, and a worthy winner of the Sustainability Award.

Judges Citation: Award of Excellence, TKT
Te Auaunga Oakley Creek is an excellent example of community collaboration and design-led approach to enhancing environmental and cultural narratives of the site. The project required vision to enable 1.5km of piped tributaries and eight hectares of open space to be restored into an attractive and inviting naturalistic stream corridor.

Te Auaunga Oakley Creek has been restored to provide a sense of natural character to the stream corridor and cultural identity to the open space park. The subtle details of the design – the stream side planting, informal stepping stone stream crossings, pattern detailing in the boardwalks and seats, and natural play areas – all combine to present a design narrative that provides unique sense of place. The community collaboration and input is evident, through traditional play and use of the Ngā Taonga Tākaro, incorporation of children’s art work, and members of the community being present and active kaitiaki of the park. Mana has been restored not only through ecological restoration, but by ownership of the community through appropriately naming the park, design artwork, and creating a sense of pride.

The project is applauded for its use of the space as an opportunity to deliver manaakitanga, a place for welcome. There is a sense of community belonging and of a welcoming to visitors. The addition of an outdoor classroom space and community fale further add to the heart of the space. Te Auaunga Oakley Creek is worthy recipient of an Award of excellence, exemplifying the strength a community working collectively in a design-led project.

Client: Auckland Council

Company: Boffa Miskell

Internal collaborators
Boffa Miskell: Mark Lewis (NZILA), Sarah Collins (FNZILA), Hanna O’Donoghue (Reg. NZILA), Caroline Patton (Reg. NZILA), Bernie Ranum (Grad. NZILA), Sarah Flynn (Terrestrial Ecologist)

External collaborators
Auckland Council - Tom Mansell, Healthy Waters Project Manager
Shaun Jones - Prev. AECOM, Design Team Project Lead
James Hughes - Prev. AECOM, Project Engineer
Auckland Council: Amy Donovan - Community Development, David Little - Community Facilities, Kim Martinengo - Arts Culture and Development
Cameron Smythe - WEC, Eng. Rep.
McCoy + Heine Architects
Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi – Artist

Key contractors
Fulton Hogan
Fort Projects

Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell
Photo Credit Jay Farnworth/Boffa Miskell