This report covers the period 13 March until 9 April 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 16 April.
The last few weeks have, of course, been dominated by the terror attacks in Christchurch and the community response to the massacre of 50 innocent people.
Christchurch Mosque Massacre
At our board meeting on 19 March, just days after the horrific events that have changed our country for ever, I led us in a minute’s silence and we gave the following acknowledgment:
“Waitematā Local Board acknowledges the victims of the Christchurch terror attack. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends directly affected by the shocking, tragic and devastating mass shooting carried out at two Mosques. We acknowledge, love and support the Muslim community in Waitematā and across Aotearoa as we come together to stand united with the community in grief and solidarity.
We commit to promoting tolerance, empathy and mutual understanding for people of all ethnicities and religious beliefs. We value the diversity of Waitematā and wish for all people to feel safe and welcomed. The board’s Ellen Melville Centre (photo right) is one of the Auckland Council community centres with a condolence book to give Aucklanders the opportunity to express their messages of support for the victims, their families and their community.”
At the Vigil in Aotea Square on 16 March (photo right), a defiant and passionate Mayor Phil Goff spoke about his determination more than ever to give nothing to racism, and to ensure the world knows that Auckland and New Zealand is wonderfully diverse, where people of all ethnicities and faiths are welcome.
The Waitematā Local Board joins with the Mayor in taking a strong stand prohibiting speakers wishing to use our community venues to incite intolerance and hate. In addition, we support Auckland as a City of Peace and the development of a regional policy that prohibits the promotion, marketing and sales of weapons of war in council facilities. I reported on our acknowledgement in the April Ponsonby News (Attachment 1)
On 22 March I was in Wellington for a National Council meeting and joined LGNZ staff for the two minutes silence observed across New Zealand. Auckland Council staff assisted in providing support to Ponsonby Mosque who were overwhelmed by the numbers who attended NZ Stand Together for Friday prayers and the evening gathering on one week commemoration.
The Neighbours day event hosted by City Centre Residents Group on 23 March provided an opportunity to come together for a shared lunch at Ellen Melville Centre. It was especially significant to hear from Imam Wajahat Khan as the centre hosts the Muslim community every Friday for prayers. Local Board member Richard Northey and I were both invited to speak (in the photo right: Auckland Street Choir singing at this event).
Love Aotearoa Hate Racism hosted Kia Kaha: Stand Against Racism in Victoria Park on 24 March and on 29 March I attended Kotahitanga Together – Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch at Eden Park with around 2,000 Aucklanders in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch mosques attack.
The afternoon’s line-up included Dave Dobbyn, Lizzie Marvelly and children from Islamic schools across Auckland singing the national anthem, and a haka and waiata from children of Kowhai Intermediate.
The Mayor, FIANZ President Br. Mustafa Farouk and Sonny Bill Williams, were among the guest speakers, and the event MC was broadcaster Miriama Kamo.
Climate Change Symposium
“On Friday morning (15 March) we heard the global call from 1.5 million young people to act to save our planet. By Friday afternoon, New Zealand quickly realised that we needed to act to save ourselves – from discrimination, intolerance and racism. Today as we gather to discuss action on climate change, I call on you all to use this same sentiment to act for good in every aspect of our society. To be resolute to act to create a better future for our children, for Auckland and New Zealand.” – Cr Penny Hulse opening the Auckland Climate Symposium on 18 March organised by Chief Sustainability Officer John Mauro and team.
The day started with Otene Reweti‘s poignant mihi whakatau providing an opportunity to reflect on the words of the national anthem.
The symposium brought people and sectors together to build cross-sector momentum on climate action and feed directly into the development of Auckland’s Climate Action Plan.
As summed up by MC Rod Oram the first imperative is to give expression to who we are as the fourth most diverse city in the world. The response to climate change must be about a wider purpose of addressing social justice, structural inequality and poverty.
There were a lot of really great presentations and panel discussions on the day I attended with the resounding takeaway that we know what we need to do, we just need to get on with it – with urgency. Ngarimu Blair stepped aside from his presentation to allow the rangatahi of Para Kore ki Tamaki Makaurau to speak (Photo credit David Galler). They powerfully reminded decision makers and us all that we have a duty to youth, those inheriting this world. “We are generation now. Our voices will be heard.”
Council’s annual budget consultation finished on 17 March. The local board ended our engagement with a formal hearing on 14 March. We heard 13 presentations in total from a range of groups and individuals. Thanks to everyone who has given feedback. We are listening and always keen to seek out the views of the community.
Good Citizen Awards
Nominations for the Waitematā Local Board Good Citizens’ Awards opened on 18 March. We immensely value community-led work and our Good Citizens’ Awards is one of the ways we celebrate and give recognition to those who make Waitematā a great place to live. We are seeking nominations for individuals or community-led organisations working within the Waitematā Local Board area until 14 April (Our Auckland Attachment 2).
Western Springs Lakeside Park update
I have been providing updates on Western Springs following complaints about the water quality of the lake and maintenance of the park.
I received the following update from Community Facilities on 1 April.
There has been a significant amount of work going on at Western Springs lately. Treescape have been through and done a lot of tidying up from last year’s storms as well as taking out some significant additional dead or dying trees. The bins and handrails are all newly painted and the playground toilets are up and running including a minor revamp to the electrical equipment. The water quality is being closely monitored by Healthy Waters and they are regularly removing rubbish and tree branches from the lake and clearing out the weirs weekly, a recent bathymetric survey was undertaken with sediment levels measured and lake depth mapped.
Any deterioration of the park assets such as paths and playground will be addressed by the Western Springs Lakeside Park Development Plan (coming to the board’s May business meeting).
The park is audited weekly and complying with contract specs, apart from the goose poo on one section of path, which I believe is what people are perceiving as a lack of maintenance. I have asked the contractors to increase the level of cleaning of the section of path on the northern side that is bombarded by geese, which will be waterblasted daily if required.
Wildlands have been asked to prepare a report on our options for Geese management for discussion with the local board.
In other park news, the Meola Reef Reserve Te Tokaroa Development Plan which provides a 10-20year holistic vision for the area is now online.
Meetings and workshops: 13 March until 9 April
- Transport portfolio meeting on 13 March
- Leys Institute Library drop-in on for the Annual Budget consultation on 13 March
- Briefing on the Walking and Cycling work programme by Auckland Transport’s CEO on 13 March
- Communications meeting on 13 March
- Ponsonby Business Association monthly board meeting on 14 March
- Annual Budget 19/20 local board hearing on 14 March
- Meeting on 14 March to discuss Auckland Transport’s safety review of car transporters on Great North Road with John Strawbridge, Group Manager Parking services and compliance and Melanie Alexander, Traffic Operations Manager
- Attended the Climate Change Symposium on 18 March at GRID AKL (photo right one of the panel discussions)
- Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 19 March
- Attended the Albert- Eden Local Board workshop on 20 March to discuss possibility of jointly delivering a Greenway on Meola Road
- Speed Limit consultation drop-in organised by Auckland Transport in the Atrium, Britomart
- Meeting with Taj Pabari, Founder & Chief Executive Officer / Fiftysix Creations (Business Camp Academy)
- Meeting with representatives of Westfield to discuss a Newmarket wayfinding project
- Auckland Climate Change Symposium closing session on 20 March (photo right Cr Penny Hulse closing the conference)
- Ports of Auckland Community Reference Group meeting on 20 March
- LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 22 March
- Weekly chairs catch-up held on 25 March, 1 April and 8 April
- Auckland Transport quarterly briefing on 25 March
- Waitematā Local Board workshops on 26 March, 2 and 9 April
- TRAFINZ executive meeting on 27 March
- Wynyard Quarter Neighbour Forum and America’s Cup 38 Community Liaison meeting held at ASB on 28 March
- Supported board member Vernon Tava presentation on 28 March to the Hearing Commissioners considering Auckland Transport’s application to construct six new ferry berths on Queens Wharf. We raised concerns about; the lack of integrated planning, the impact on public space on the “people’s wharf”, the adequacy of the infrastructure for passengers and objected to plans for buses to circulate on the wharf. We also confirmed our opposition to the Dolphin mooring extension
- Meeting with Kelmarna Gardens Trustees on 28 March
- Site visit on 29 March at the Auckland Domain to discuss the location of footpaths to be funded by the Local Board (the photo right highlights how poor the walking environment is in the Domain with parked cars dominating the entrance to Auckland Museum)
- Meeting with businesses impacted by CRL construction on 3 April at the invite of Sunny Kaushal (owner of the Shakespeare Hotel). It was very concerning to hear about their very stressful situations. I’ve been following up with CRL to find out what has happened to the development response that was meant to have been put in place as well as activation of the street to encourage more foot traffic.
- Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop at AUT on 4 April
- Local Board Chairs Forum on 8 April
Events and functions: 13 March until 8 April
- Spoke at the Parnell Business Association monthly networking event on 13 March regarding the Annual Budget 19/20
- Launch of the Writers Festival on 13 March at Aotea Centre
- Auckland Arts Festival performance Silk Road at the Auckland Town Hall at the invitation of the University of Auckland on 14 March
- Climate Strike in Aotea Square on 15 March
- Safe Speeds Panel discussion organised by Auckland Transport on 15 March
- Backbone performed at Aotea Centre at the invitation of Auckland Arts Festival Trust
- Vigil for the victims of the Christchurch Mosque Massacre in Aotea Square on 16 March
- Toku Reo Waiata at the Auckland Town Hall on 16 March at the invitation of Auckland Arts Festival Trust
- Astroman opening night at Q Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 17 March
- BfM radio interview on 15 and 29 March
- Neighbours Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 23 March organised by City Centre Residents Association (photo above cutting the Love Your Neighbour cake)
- Splice Neighbours Day event “Check it out” Human library on Lorne Street
- Dog Day Afternoon at Silo Park on 23 March
- Kia kaha Aotearoa: Stand against racism rally on 24 March
- Presided at the Citizenship ceremony on 25 March at the Auckland Town Hall. The Citizenship ceremony took on extra special significance. One of the commitments of citizenship is to foster and support the close relationships between New Zealanders of all ethnicities and faiths. It was an honour to preside and welcome over 400 new New Zealanders from 49 countries along with Kaumatua Bob Hawke, local board members David Wong, Rosalind Rundle, Bob Upchurch and Cr Josephine Bartley. ( Photo credit: Paul Victor Pu’a)
- Kai at Merge afternoon tea at the invite of Lifewise
- Kotahitanga Together – Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch at Eden Park on 29 March
- Aloha Night at Grey Lynn School on 29 March
- Opening of Korean Day festival on 30 March (photo below)
- Red Alert radio interview on 4 April
- Announcement of the National Erebus Memorial design – Te Paerangi Ataata- Sky Song- by the Prime Minister and Mayor on 5 April with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in Sir Dove Myer Robinson Park. I attended with Deputy Chair Shale Chambers. Kathryn Carter (photo right) spoke beautifully about the significance of the design. She was one of two family representatives on the selection panel who chose the design for the way it touches the land lightly leading into the sky (with many thoughtful features). Importantly all the victims are acknowledged as well as the responders and Justice Mahon who found the truth about what happened.
- Relationship Agreement Signing Ceremony Waikato-Tainui and Auckland Council at the Kiingitanga Exhibition – Auckland War Memorial Museum on 8 April