#TransformManukau – The Context. Part 7 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series

Context leading up to Transform Manukau


In my sit down with Panuku Development Auckland I fleshed out the lead-up to Transform Manukau, the major transform urban renewal program being lead by the Council Controlled Organisation (CCO). Through this part of the series I will be telling the story of Manukau, its history and current situation, the vision and the real need for people to be in the front seat driving the transform.


In this post I am looking at the context leading up to Transform Manukau. 


Prior to the construction of the Southern Motorway in the 1950’s and 1960’s South Auckland was a series of independent towns surrounded by rural or industrial land all connected by the rail line and the Great South Road. If you look at Otahuhu, Papatoetoe, Manurewa and Papakura they are like knots in two pieces of string that is the rail line and the Great South Road. These places organically evolved as settlements as Auckland especially its then industrial city centre and port grew.

Come the 1950’s and 1960’s we caught the American suburban and motorway bug and the march of the Southern Motorway would begin from Mt Wellington (and later the City Centre) and go through in stages to first the fledging Manukau City Centre (via Redoubt Road), then Manurewa, Takanini, Papakura and finally in the 1990’s connecting with State Highway Two on the other side of the Bombay Hills. With the motorway came apparent freedom (the opposite would ring true fast enough with chronic congestion) and the freedom to sprawl following the path to the Southern Motorway. And up until recently that sprawl advanced as far south as Takanini with Papakura being isolated before BOOM and now that sprawl on its way to Pukekohe.

In reaction to this new sprawl the Manukau City Centre was formed in the 60’s. Where things would go wrong fast however, rather than having Manukau built next or connected to the rail line (it would not until 2012 and even then we are still missing the Manukau South Link that even Panuku strongly wants) it was built next to and connected to the Southern Motorway (and later the South Western Motorway a few years ago). Why?  The focus of Manukau as being a car-centric centre with wide roads rather than the narrow roads seen in existing South Auckland towns and links to the rail system to allow passenger movements to and from the Centre.


That road focus even with the Manukau Station opening in 2012 would dog Manukau’s potential despite good demand for residential and commercial on the Centre.



As a result while the rest of South Auckland continues to enjoy property value rises Manukau City Centre owing to its car-centric form sits in a value trough. This is something Panuku acknowledges in their High Level Project Plan and a key problem in getting good quality development off the ground for Transform Manukau.


But Manukau does have potential especially when looking at these economic figures as of 2015:

Manukau economic output as of 2015 Source: HLPP - Panuku
Manukau economic output as of 2015
Source: HLPP – Panuku


So the economic clout is there and we have done enough plans to last a life time for Manukau. So it is (as Panuku said) time to get on with the ACTION (implementation).


Transform Manukau – The Vision: The Thriving Heart and Soul of The South.


That Vision which will drive the economic and social initiatives to:

  1. Increase the quality of life of the people
  2. Increasing economic participation


Tomorrow I will start fleshing out the Panuku drive to increase the quality of life of the people through Transform Manukau.


Why Transform Manukau
Why Transform Manukau