Southern Auckland and Manukau – An Omnibus #2

A Recap Series


The Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre


From Hayman Park to Manukau City Centre
From Hayman Park to Manukau City Centre

Time to do some recaps of a few posts I have done on Southern Auckland and both its urban development plus transport potential. In the first ‘Southern Auckland and Manukau – An Omnibus‘ post I recapped on the need for the Manukau South Rail Link (in spite of opposition from an unusual quarter) to allow high-speed, high-capacity and good frequency train services between Manukau City Centre and the rest of Southern Auckland down to Pukekohe.

In the next recap post I will take a look at the State Highway One – Takanini Interchange upgrade that has been kicked around like a football for far too long.

In this post I take a brief look back at a four-year long project that is about to come to fruition (unless we get a total reverse of policy change in Council…); the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre.


The Manukau City Centre – The Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre

Manukau City Centre Area
Manukau City Centre Area


Manukau City Centre was founded in the 1960’s as a “second” city centre out in (back then) the middle of no where. Designed to be a major service hub for the rapidly growing South Auckland that was being fast linked up by the ever-expanding State Highway One (the Southern Motorway), Manukau would be an apparent beacon of generous roads, plenty of parking, and brand new shopping mall for the people of the South.

Fast forward to 2014 and the story has not changed that much from the 1960’s. We still an inefficient land use (60% of urban land in Manukau City Centre is surface car parks), still auto-centric to get around despite a train station and a new bus interchange coming, still got the mall (not a bad thing as that can act as the focal anchor point for future redevelopment), and still the primary service hub for now not only South Auckland, but Southern Auckland and the Northern Waikato.

However, despite the scaring from its auto-centric beginnings and past Manukau City Centre is blessed in a strange way from its legacy. That legacy allows Manukau to go from that ugly swan status into something that is more “beautiful.” For starters if you check the road layout in the Manukau City Centre you will see that it is a traditional old-style grid pattern coupled with wide roads that have wide grass or flush medians. That grid pattern means the land parcels should be regular rather than irregular as you would find with an urban-scape riddled with curvy roads and cul-de-sacs. Thus with regular land parcels it is much easier to gather them all up if you want to undertake large-scale redevelopment project. That said I believe the Council owns quite a bit of the land in the Manukau City Centre area. I do know they own the land and car parks at the Westfield Mall site and lease it back to Westfield. Furthermore the street grid pattern coupled with the fact the roads are wide with generous median strips allows for very easy retrofitting into more people friendly spaces – while still maintaining your main arterial roads required. Also just taking another look at the maps I see with Manukau City Centre that the main arterial roads (including State Highways One and Twenty) go “around” the core of Manukau City Centre unlike the main CBD which has arterial roads dissecting it rather badly. Again this allows turning the core of the Manukau City Centre into a people friendly area with relative ease.

So indeed Manukau City Centre is blessed from a strange sense of irony with its auto-centric routes.


To the 21st Century

Over the last four years I have been strongly pushing for Manukau City Centre to be brought into the 21st Century. Through the four submissions and/or presentations I have done on Manukau you can see how I have evolved the discussion from turning Manukau into a Second CBD of Auckland, to its current form of the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre. Below are the various submissions and/or presentations outlining the evolving Manukau debate.

The Auckland Plan Submission


The Unitary Plan Initial Feedback (2013)


The main Unitary Plan Submission (February 2014)


21st Century Auckland



What Next?

Looking at my diary I note that the Councillors are due out either next week or the week after for the “tour” of Manukau for which I will be there for part of it. The tour was designed to show Manukau to the Councillors, most likely give a history lesson, its future potential, as well as meeting the stakeholders in the area. Commentary will be done once the tour is complete with hopefully plenty of photos if the weather is decent.

Also the second submission round for the Unitary Plan is due out at the end of May. For this to happen the planners will have had to either approve or disagree on the points made in our submissions. From there we submit again on whether we basically approve or disapprove of the planners decisions. The option of going to the Environment Court to challenge a disagreement from the planners is available but for me personally it is something I want to avoid. So I will need to check on what the planners have agreed or disagreed with in points of my submission (a large portion was around Manukau) before I personally make a decision of where next.

Finally it seems I will be making a presentation again to the Auckland Development Committee in two weeks time. Reason? Auckland Transport being extremely sluggish in some previous commitments that have influence on urban development – particularly in the South. A decision (preferably a public one) around the Manukau South Rail Link was meant to be released in March for at least Southern Auckland knows where it stands on their much wanted link. Another point of contention that has the potential to upset urban development (as well as pretty much everyone else with our appalling record with level crossings and accidents/deaths) is around the rail level crossing separation project which was discussed behind closed doors in the last AT board meeting. Also I plan to make an “official protest” at the Committee over Auckland Transports Manukau Bus Interchange design which is not being well liked by myself, those who follow Transport Blog, and most likely the wider community who would use it. I will outline the reasons behind my own criticisms behind the design later on next week if speaking rights are granted.


As Transport Blog tweeted:

The seeds have indeed being planted and are beginning to sprout. And just as like in my vege garden at home you nurture those sprouts and hope like anything that frost does not come along and kill them off.


Next post I look at the Takanini Interchange.


Davis Avenue Boulevard under construction
Davis Avenue Boulevard under construction


Manukau Areas