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Northcote THUMBS UP



Two local families move into a warm, dry, healthy home in time for Christmas.

Lots more new homes, three new streets, and a new pocket park.

Connie Clarkson finds dumplings locally that match her legendary Aunt Mei Mei’s.




Construction underway on the first batch of 2-bedroom homes in Tonar Street. Photograph by Jonny Davis.

Back cover Artwork by Onepoto Primary students.

Summer 2017/18

Contents Children’s Champion Meet Sala Alona, one of those unsung heroes who does a load of good for the community. 12 The Little School that Could Onepoto Primary has done it again, hosting an unmissable event for the rest of the Shore. 14 Making New Memories Meet some of the folks who will make the new houses on Tonar Street home. 18

Mark Fraser, Precinct Director, HLC

Cover photo From left: Lesiele (in red) outside her new home with daughters Talaheu and Latu, and niece Fee. Photograph by David St George.



Welcome to the second issue of Everyday Northcote. We’re thrilled to be bringing out this issue now, because by the time you’re reading it, two local families will be getting ready to move into the first new Everyday Homes on Tonar Street. By Christmas we will have nine homes completed. This is a major milestone for the Northcote Development. It has been just over a year since we removed the original houses where these new ones now stand and I’m proud that, despite some challenges we ran into along the way, we got these homes built in that timeframe. The people moving in have been relocated from other original Housing New Zealand houses, giving them a new, warm, modern place to live for Christmas (and beyond), and allowing us to keep the project moving forward. Most satisfying to me, and I think I can probably speak for the rest of the team that has worked on the project, is to see the reaction of the community members who visited the newly completed Everyday Homes when we had them open in early November – lots of positive comments and genuine joy and excitement at seeing their neighbourhood improved and in anticipating the impact these new homes will have on people’s lives.

Coming Soon to Northcote Lots more new homes, three new streets and a pocket park. 20

Everyday Northcote is published by HLC with the support of Panuku Development Auckland and Housing New Zealand. We welcome your feedback. Email: to get in touch.

The Dumpling Whisperer Connie Clarkson goes looking for dumplings to match her Aunt Mei Mei’s. 24




Dare to Explore

Nice one, Northcote

The Northcote Library will soon be gearing up for their annual summer reading challenge for 5–13 year olds. Your child can stay on top of their reading over the holidays and make new friends in loads of fun, imaginative ways. Take the challenge in either English or Te Reo Māori. T: 09 377 0209

I saw this orange box in the carpark – what’s going on here? The box is an info centre about the two different redevelopment projects happening in Northcote. We have all the plans here and can answer most of your questions. I’m living in a Housing New Zealand property. Will I need to move because of this development? When it is time for your property to be redeveloped, the Tenancy Liaison team at HNZ will help you through the process. They’ll talk to you about your family’s needs and make sure you have another home to move to, whether in Northcote or elsewhere. You’ll get at least 90 days notice about this, but probably longer.

A random selection of some of the everyday good stuff going on in our community.

Heartful Hub


Happy bookworms Onepoto School Librarian Stephanie Taniora was ecstatic to get a donation for new books recently. “We didn’t get any funding last year for the library, so when we got nearly $600 to spend on books – man, we went shopping.” Dorothy Butler bookshop was happy to help. First on the list for Zinman Htet (left), were more books from the series of The Elsewhere Chronicles. Engineering and design company Harrison Grierson is proud to be involved with HLC on this major

A number of senior students at Northcote College celebrated winning study scholarships in early November. But Head Girl Ioana Moana has special reason to be elated. She’s the recipient of a generous award from Keystone Trust, a company dedicated to promoting opportunities for promising young people to get into the property industry. Ioana will study engineering in 2018 at the University of Auckland because, she says, “I’ve heard nobody argues with an engineer!”

KIDS IN THE CUBE Get the kids out of the house and off their screens at a free drop-in workshop in the Northcote Development Information Centre.

project and made the donation to Onepoto Primary to further support the school. “It’s great to be able to help out in this way – we hope the students enjoy their new library books,” said Simon Murphy, Land Development Manager at Harrison Grierson.


Northart Christmas Exhibitions The Pocket Edition: Small Works for Large Walls is the title of the exhibition at Northart Gallery in the Northcote Town Centre. 30 invited artists created ten works each which are all postcard-sized. The gallery operates this show on an informal ‘cash and carry’ basis and you can opt to take your art unframed or framed. A great way to indulge in some quality, affordable art this Christmas! 27 Nov – 27 Dec. Pocket Edition is followed by A Christmas Show 2–21 Dec, with paintings, ceramics, glass, textile and object art. Pop in and feast your eyes!

WHAT GOES ON INSIDE THE ORANGE BOX? Heather McLay works at the Info Cube, Northcote Development’s information place in the town centre carpark. Here she tells us what she gets asked the most often, and what her answers are.

Christmas Decorations Saturday 9 December 11am–2pm

Will the town centre still be mostly Asian restaurants and food shops? These restaurants and shops attract visitors from all over Auckland, so the plan is to find a balance between these popular shops but also include a few different types of shops that locals need. What else is being done in Northcote? The Northcote cycleway is being managed by Auckland Transport, a new wastewater pipeline is being put in by Watercare, and a new stormwater system by Healthy Waters. Can I buy one of the affordable houses? The homes are not ready to buy yet, but sign up for news at and you’ll be emailed when they are. Will the schools cope if the population grows? The Ministry of Education is working on plans for managing expanding rolls at Onepoto Primary and Northcote Intermediate.

NORTHCOTE DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION CENTRE Crafty Creatures Saturday 2 December 11am–2pm

Are you going to bulldoze everything and start again? No, the development will be done in stages, so that people still have places to live and shops can stay open, but it will be disruptive for a while.

1200 new, warm, dry homes coming to Northcote over the next six years Find out what’s happening when. Visit the Info Centre: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am–4pm, in the town centre carpark

Christmas Cards Saturday 16 December 11am–2pm


What is the greenway? A path connecting all the parks in the area to each other and the town centre – a nice place to walk and a great way to get to the shops and public transport. What are you going to do about all the extra cars? Auckland Transport is working on traffic and public transport improvements. All of the houses being built have off-road parking, and the greenway will encourage people to walk instead of using their cars for small trips.


Head Girl building dreams

One of busiest community hubs of Northcote, Raeburn House, is now to be known as ‘Hearts & Minds.’ It’s a fitting name-change, because the highly-skilled team there have a heartfelt commitment to the Northcote community. They provide friendly (and mostly free) advice and workshops for many issues including parenting and family problems, mental health, information for migrants and refugees, community sector mentoring and much more. See our article on page 7 for an insight into one of Hearts & Minds’ most long-running groups, Global Food and Friends.



painted the view from both inside looking out the window and outside looking in, on one canvas. “I’m intrigued by the shadows cast by architectural spaces,” she says. Like most artists, making art is more akin to a calling than a ‘get rich quick scheme.’ She has watched her Mum, writer Joy Cowley, “work hard all her life” to make headway, “and she still works full time at 81.” Sharon applies similar discipline to her own routine. As is true of all career artists, she is deeply committed to her work and loves the process of making art.

Sharon Vickers Painting the in-between times

Sharon trained as a nurse when she left school, but her passion has always been art. In 2001 she completed a Bachelor of Visual of Arts and then went on, after a break, to do a Masters. Around the same time she became a member of Northart, the Auckland Council-run gallery in the Northcote Town Centre. Northart has offered her numerous opportunities to show her work, either in solo or group exhibitions, since. “I’ve been invited to be part of four group exhibitions this year already. Northart has been my nest. I need to hop out now and then!”

“It’s a very open and friendly environment where just chatting with others can often turn into an informal support group.”

Sharon is a big fan of Northcote. She enjoys the cultural richness of the area. She admires the Tongan church band that plays on the main street every Christmas, and appreciates the parks. “We’re really lucky with the proximity to town and all the parks. I walk every morning with my husband and the dogs through Le Roys bush. You wouldn’t know you’re in the city.” She also loves the friendliness of her neighbourhood.

Global Food and Friends is a fun and informative friendship group that has been running for around six years now at Hearts & Minds in the Northcote town centre. It was set up in response to feedback from newcomers to the area who identified a need for an informal and relaxing way to meet others, learn about Kiwi culture and have a chat over snacks from different cultures.

“People walk a lot and that means they talk. Generally the houses have lower fences, although on the seaward side they’re higher, but I think it’s to stop the wind. I’m not keen on high fences. You need to be able to see over the fence so you can talk over it!”

The group is largely led by volunteers and is also supported by Hearts & Minds staff. Brigid Furness from Hearts & Minds has been enjoying working with the Global Food group for a few weeks now and says there is a core of about 10 regulars who make sure any newcomers are treated to a warm welcome. “We have Chinese, Korean, Brazilian, Sri Lankan, Singaporeans, Malaysian and Egyptian people in the group. Sometimes people go to a lot of trouble to make something delicious from their culture, but if you don’t have time or don’t know how, there’s no pressure. It’s also fine to pick something up from a shop”, she says.

Above and left The now unoccupied home Sharon grew up in has provided inspiration for her work.

The group often hosts guest speakers. This week there was a representative from the Ministry of Primary Industries who




Artist Sharon Vickers met her husband, “a Dargaville boy”, in London. Not long after they returned to New Zealand they bought a home in Northcote Point in 1987. Sharon says the deceased estate was almost derelict. “It was all we could afford.” She fell in love with the area for its sense of community and she and John chipped away at the house on Queen Street while bringing up four kids.


discussed what foods visiting friends and relatives can safely bring into New Zealand – handy information when you’re desperate for treats from home countries but want to avoid problems at the airport! Another important purpose of the group is to pass on information on how local services can help you to settle in New Zealand. Brigid says new members often

Sharon’s current work focuses on vacant spaces. She is interested in the “in-between times when buildings are unoccupied. We’ve just sold a farm that I grew up in and the house has been empty since 2012. I’ve been fascinated with the light coming in through the windows.” In one particular series, she


find it easier to gather useful information by chatting to others rather than online. “The group is great for helping new people in the area to assimilate – I think it’s a rather unique way of socialising,” says Angela from Korea. Adrienne is a Kiwi who has travelled the world and worked at the United Nations. “This is where it’s all going on, isn’t it,” she says, waving around to include everyone in this multicultural group. “I think it’s great to support this process.” Miranda, who’s from Singapore, agrees. “We’re all part of a team. No man is an island. We all need friends.”

Wednesdays fortnightly, 10.30am–12pm Enquiries: (09) 442 8989




We knocked on some doors and drank some tea so we could introduce you to some of the everyday people that make up the Northcote community.





“I volunteer at Onepoto Primary two days a week. It makes life more interesting to support the children’s reading and schoolwork, especially the Tongan students. I’m looking forward to the Pasifika festival – I’m organising the Tongan performance. I also run values classes for children, where the children learn about virtues such as kindness, respect, truthfulness and honesty. The purpose of the class is to make virtues a part of their life every day – even without anyone being around to enforce it.”

“I realised when I was 15 years old that everyone thought I’d ‘gone off-track.’ Mum used to say, ‘the world is your oyster – everything’s out there, but you have to work hard for it.’ A cousin told me, ‘What you do now in school will determine what you can do once you leave school,’ so I started going to school more, and balancing fun and study better. Now I’m doing a Diploma in Travel and Tourism. I will graduate in December. My proud Nan is putting on a special dinner for me to celebrate.”

“I really enjoy being a community pharmacist – there are lots of lovely people and a very diverse range of cultures here. I’m proud to be a part of the Northcote Community, both professionally and personally. I joined the Northcote Business Association, and now I’m the co-chairperson. We run the annual Chinese and Korean New Year’s Festival, help to keep the place clean and safe, and keep the Council on their toes!”

“I have been working at Anne Maree Court Rest Home in Northcote for more than 10 years. I love my job. I know how to do everything there – kitchen, cleaning, caregiving, and laundry. Thank God for my boss, because it’s like another family here for me – nice, friendly staff from different countries with different languages. Working helps my family because my husband is sick, he’s had a stroke and heart bypass, so I’m looking after the family. I love Northcote. I don’t drive, but I can walk to work, the supermarket, the doctor, the library and schools.”

How do you greet people in Tongan? Malo e lelei! Where did you come to Northcote from? I moved with my husband and children from Tonga last year to look after my grandmother, who has lived in Tonar Street for 13 years. What do you like to do in Northcote? Go shopping and to the library. Also watching different kinds of people

What’s your favourite What is a Niuean greeting? Fakalofa Lahi Atu – which really thing to do in Northcote? Getting together with the means ‘love towards you.’ neighbourhood for different Where did you come to celebrations – like watching Northcote from? I’ve lived in the young kids’ performances Northcote my whole life. Mum at the Onepoto Cultural came here from Niue as a Festival. child – living in Cadness Street What’s your wish for the area? with her parents. Her mum is I like it how it is. When I’m still there. walking around seeing people in the street or park, who shout out and say a friendly “hello.”

– seeing what they’re doing around the central shopping centre area, and hearing the different greetings. What’s your wish for the area? To be new-born! I wish for the people here to be peaceful, humble people – respectful, truthful and honest. Above: Mele, her daughters Oterangi (left) and Joan, and grandson Paea-He-Lotu.


Anthony owns the Unichem Northcote Pharmacy. His grandfather came from Canton, China to Aotearoa in 1900, to support the goldminers by supplying fruit and vegetables to them. How would your grandfather have greeted us? Ni hao ma! Where did you come to Northcote from? I was born in Napier, then after training in Dunedin for four years came to Northcote into my first house – 30 years ago.

What is your favourite thing to do here? I enjoy trying out the many places to eat, and biking around.

What is your cultural greeting? The greeting in Tongan is ‘Malo e Lelei.’ Where did you come to Northcote from? I came to Northcote from Tonga in 2002 with my husband and six sons. One more son was born here in New Zealand.

What’s your wish for the area? I’m looking forward to the new plan – the greenway and cycleways. If all the plans designed and consulted upon come to fruition, Northcote will become a really vibrant, modern community with lots of new amenities, stores and housing.


What is your favourite thing to do here? I just love to be with my family, or go shopping – meeting people who live in Northcote – my friends from different cultures. What’s your wish for the area? I like to be safe in my community. I like people to be friendly.



In the Neighbourhood


Three brand-new classrooms at Northcote Intermediate are now receiving finishing touches and final landscaping. The buildings are equipped with the latest technology and it’s an up-to-date, contemporary fit-out all round. Principal Ben Kelsey is delighted with the new classrooms, which will house 80-90 students in a new open-plan learning environment – the only kind that will be built from now on in New Zealand. “Open-plan teaching is now widely accepted. For the Intermediate age-group a lot depends on the quality of the teacher to keep things working smoothly. Luckily we have great ones,” says Ben.

Top team at  Totara Springs

Principal Chef

A selection of 38 ‘top athletes’ hand-picked from the eager ranks of sporty students at Northcote Intermediate gave a solid show of strength at a recent athletic camp.

“I’ve always loved cooking, and I think it’s fair to say I know my way around a kitchen,” says Ben Kelsey, the Principal of Northcote Intermediate.

Totara Springs near Matamata hosted eight schools, each competing with their teams of 38 in a wide range of 40 different sports events including swimming, athletics, touch rugby – and some different sports too, like darts, petanque, table tennis, archery and even chess. A special feature of this camp was the Facebook page that was set up and updated throughout each day with photos and news, so that parents and teachers at home felt part of the action. There were 40 different events and Northcote Intermediate won 18 of the trophies, placing them first out of all the competing schools. “All the children gave their absolute best – the competition is pretty fierce to get into the team,” says sports teacher Jon Pickford. “Quite a bit of the winning formula was about management and strategy. These kids were so easy to work with… they did the school proud.” James Cameron and Malachi Book (below) made the cut, each playing at least six different sports. They said the camp was great, the grounds and courts were really nice and, most importantly, “the food was awesome!”





THE GREENWAY TEAM It’s a good thing too, since he spent a couple of weeks with sleeves rolled up at the MERC (Marine Education and Recreation) camp at Long Bay in October, helping to cook three meals a day for 80-90 kids (all while taking care of his day job in between meals). Twelve classes took their turns at the camp, spending three days each having fun and being challenged by new experiences. The range of activities at the camp is exceptional: abseiling, a high ropes course, canoeing, sailing and team building exercises ensure kids return with new skills – and are happily exhausted at the end of each day. Technology in the form of phones and laptops takes a back seat. At the end of the camp the students entertained their teachers and whanau with skits.

Teachers are looking forward to settling into the gleaming new spaces, and predicting there’ll be more. The growth of Northcote Intermediate has been phenomenal. Over the last four years it has more than doubled its roll from around 190 to 440 students. In the near future, this school and all the others in the area will continue to expand as the new homes in the Northcote Development are filled. Ben is unfazed. “Whatever happens, the best outcomes for our students will be at the heart of all we do.”


Northcote Intermediate students spent a couple of hours recently getting involved in a hands-on workshop with the design company, Isthmus Group, leading the greenway project.

The greenway is a public network of outdoor spaces connected by a living green path which residents will be able to walk, cycle and play in. It will link Northcote neighbourhoods to Lake Road and the town centre (see a plan on page 22). “The Isthmus team came in with a big map and lots of printed photos of different components that the kids might want to use in the design,” says Kim Norris, one of the teachers involved in the workshop. “It was quite fascinating to see the children realise that the designers were talking about bits of land that they see every day – behind the school for example, or close to their own homes which they found on the map. You could see them start to imagine how much potential fun the re-design could be for everyone.” The students were encouraged to think about what the different age groups who would be using the greenway, from toddlers to the elderly, would need. Most of the


students agreed that they’d most like play areas and cycle tracks for themselves. “People in Northcote have told us that the greenway will be really important for a healthy community. It’s somewhere to be active, have conversations and come together in a shared space,” said Helen Kerr from Isthmus Group. “Young people were involved in shaping the idea of a greenway 10 years ago, and we are involving the next generation of Northcote youth in the design process so that the greenway comes to life for them and they want to care for it in the future.”



The Children’s Champion Behind every good primary school is a community that mucks in and helps the teaching staff do more than they otherwise could for the kids.

Onepoto Primary has its fair share of champions – people who take their turn going the extra mile for the kids. Take Sala Alona who served on the school board for several years before handing that job over to her sister, Joy Alona (also known as Emma), and taking up the challenge of being a teacher’s aide. School caretaker, David Peihopa says, “Sala is more than a teacher aide, she is like an aunty and head fundraiser.”

“It’s hard work. You teach the kids and do the costumes yourself. But it’s all worth it in the end. You see the kids performing on the stage and you think, yay!” Sala is also head of ‘Friends of the School’, a committee that fundraises for Onepoto. Sala says that fundraising has a dual purpose. It’s not just about getting money in, it also brings parents into the school to interact with the teachers. “We want them to come in.”

STEPPING UP TO LEAD THROUGH A TIME OF CHANGE The new Chairperson of the Onepoto School Board of Trustees says she sees an opportunity for the school community to build a stronger sense of identity.

“One of the things I tell the parents is if you have questions, talk to the principal, talk to the teacher. If you don’t feel comfortable, talk to me,” says Sala. “The teachers want to talk to us too.”

“One of the things I tell the parents is that we want to know the good things and the bad things as well, otherwise how can we improve?”


Sala (centre) with Mele (left) and Piisi (right) who volunteered at the Onepoto Cultural Festival.

Sala runs the breakfast program, making sure the kids are fed so that they can start the day ready to learn. She coordinates with Fonterra and KidsCan, who provide milk, Weetbix and fruit salad. She makes sure there’s a roster of volunteers to serve the food each morning and comes in to school herself if someone is sick and can’t make it. On Wednesdays Sala takes the Pasifika programme, teaching the kids traditional song and dance from across the Islands. “It’s good to cover all the cultures at school.” She says she’s always looking for volunteers to help. “It’s lucky I know heaps of people and I go and ask around. At the moment I’m working with a Tongan lady. I teach the kids the Niuean ones. And sometimes we do the Cook Island dance as well.”

of our school. Plus it’s only over the fence.” Her advice to other parents who are looking at schools in the area is to consider the benefit of being able to walk. “See it as fitness. Plus you spend quality time with your kids when you walk.” “Onepoto is a good school,” says Joy. “It’s about us as a community. We’re working together with the teachers to find lots of ways our school can succeed. Slowly but surely.”



Joy sent her daughter to Northcote Primary but now has her son at Onepoto. Asked why the change of school, she says “I get that sense of family. I like that we’re working together to make something better out

Cate works as an Anglican Minister as well as various community support roles. Photography by David St George.

Cate Thorn, the new Chairperson of the Onepoto School Board of Trustees, got to know the school when she helped the then-principal Marc Dombroski set up ‘Our Place’, a meeting place for parents on the school grounds. Our Place, in a refurbished prefab classroom, was created to encourage parents to come into the school more often, get familiar with the teachers and become comfortable participating in the school community. While setting up Our Place, Cate was impressed by the staff ’s commitment to the kids and joined the Board. Once Northcote’s status as a Special Housing Area was confirmed Cate stepped up to the Chairperson’s role. “I realised there was work to do to help people through the transition. Like any community that’s been established for a long time, there’s resistance to change.” She says she feels for the local people, including her fellow board members who are parents at the school and Housing New

Zealand tenants. “They’re putting 110% into the school without any certainty yet about where they will be living until they have progressed further in the rehousing process with Housing New Zealand.” “One of my aims is to help the community actively engage with the changes instead of being silent. People love the area and are proud of it. That just needs activating, then they will get involved and encourage others as well”, she says. Onepoto School faces some real challenges, but Cate is a ‘glass half full’ person. She also sees the flip side of those challenges. “Onepoto is unique on the North Shore in that it’s an intensive pocket of Maori and Tongan kids at one school. This brings with it the opportunity to build a strong sense of identity which supports the kids’ learning.” She’d like to create a “mini-campus” which incorporates Onepoto with a new preschool on site and neighbouring Northcote


Intermediate. She believes offering continuity of education in one place will help foster student pride and increase confidence. So, what is Onepoto’s greatest strength, in her view? “The teachers work really hard and innovatively to find ways to help these kids. It’s very real here. It’s the struggles that make the school stronger. In the middle of the struggles the teachers never stop trying. I’m blown away by their commitment.” After 20 years of commitment to the school Marc Dombroski has chosen to step aside to enable a new leader to guide the school through this time of change. While a new Principal is being sought, Colin Dale has stepped in as Relieving Principal. “I am enjoying the opportunity to further the flourishing of the children in this diverse community” says Colin.



On November 17, Onepoto Primary School hosted the Onepoto Cultural Festival for the 26th straight year. Pamela Bhika, Deputy Principal of Onepoto Primary and Festival Co-ordinator, says this year the school welcomed 56 groups from around 40 primary and intermediate schools across the North Shore region. “There were 28 teams on the outdoor stage with up to 60 performers each, and the same number on the smaller indoor stage with 40-50 performers in each group.” A daunting prospect to any but this well-practiced team.

North Shore schools apply early for a place in the festival and some inevitably miss out – it’s a highly desirable spot on the calendar. Many ethnicities from across the region are represented. For Onepoto it’s particularly important as it is the school’s main fundraiser for the year, netting on average around $7-8k. Local shops always support the festival with donations for raffles, which the school is extremely grateful for, as there are no grants or funding available. “It’s actually not a large amount when you think of the hours that go into the organisation,” says Pamela. “This year we

reluctantly had to charge a small fee for each group to cover the increased costs of the traffic management plan, sound system and outdoor stage. But it’s worth it for what the students get out of it – although in the 12 years that I’ve been at Onepoto, I don’t think I’ve ever seen our kids actually perform. The teachers are always too busy!” Every year there’s a wide variety of food stalls – from classic hotdogs and chips to Asian dumplings, noodles and Indian snacks. This year the umu proved very popular. If you’d like to be part of the event next year, make sure you get in early – the Onepoto Cultural Festival is a wonderful part of Northcote community’s annual event calendar and deserves to be cherished.



After a 9.15am powhiri, the day swung into back-to-back action. There were three groups from Onepoto this year, presenting kapa haka, Pasifika dancing and also, for the first time, drumming. The cultural festival is not a competition – it’s an opportunity to showcase student talent. “We actually

employed a special tutor this term, Gary Pratt, to help with our kapa haka group. It’s worth finding the money for this because being part of the festival is very important for the children,” says Pamela.

The Little School that Could O N E P O T O C U LT U R A L F E S T I V A L

There’s one event on the annual calendar that none of the schools in the region want to miss – the annual ‘world-famous on the Shore’ Onepoto Cultural Festival. Photography: David St George




First New Homes Get the Thumbs Up

to put the bbq or to sit outside when the weather is good – these are some of the features that Rewi incorporated into the design. On the Northcote Development website you can watch a video and hear Rewi talking about the design ( “One of the visions I’ve always had as a designer is to serve my people – my community – and this particular project has been a wonderful opportunity to do that,” said Rewi. He would have been thrilled to see the first of the families move into their new, warm, dry, modern Everyday Home on Tonar Street.



REWI’S LEGACY If you saw a copy of the first issue of Everyday Northcote, you’ll know that the Everyday Homes that are now appearing in Tonar and Cadness Streets and Potter Avenue were designed by the late Rewi Thompson. Rewi designed the Everyday Home to be warm and dry, safe, and suited to modern life. A space off the kitchen for a generous dining table where the family can eat together; a good sized living room where everyone can gather; an entrance which can be closed off from visitors at the front door to give the family privacy; upstairs bedrooms to engender a feeling of safety and for a better view; large windows to capture the sun; somewhere


BLESS THIS HOUSE The first new State house to be completed in Northcote has been blessed, readying it to be lived in and called ‘home.’ Mauri (soil) that was blessed, dug and stored in a carved wooden box a year ago, was returned to the Tonar Street site of the first completed Everyday Home. This symbolising the land being a constant while the buildings above changed. For local Māori, the dawn ceremony marked the end of construction and removed the tapu (spiritual restriction), making the homes ready for families to move into. The ceremony was led by Hauauru Rawiri (Ngāti Paoa), Glen Wilcox (Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua) and Mike Baker (Ngāti Whanaunga).

It was an important moment not only for mana whenua, but for HLC and Housing NZ who reached a major milestone with the completion of the first house. Rewi Thompson (Ngāti Porou) of Isthmus Group, who designed the Everyday Home, did not live to see the homes built so a special tribute was made to him.

A big moment arrived for the Tonar Street neighbourhood and the Northcote Development team in early November when the first two new State homes were completed. There were hundreds of pairs of shoes left at the door over the space of two days as locals and many of the people who work on the project walked through the homes while they were open for viewing. Those of us who are involved in the Northcote Development feel very proud of these

HLC’s Sarah Chapman described the morning as solemn and significant. “Through the ceremony we remembered the past and we also acknowledged the work that has gone into creating the first Everyday Home.”

homes because of the positive impact that living in a warm, dry, modern house will have on the wellbeing of the families who rent them. There was a lot of blatant eavesdropping going on as we listened to the community discussing the merits of the design. We also asked again and again, “so, what do you think?” We’re pleased to report that Rewi’s Thompson’s carefully considered design for an ‘everyday home that puts whanau first’ got a unanimous thumbs up.

Photography: Jonny Davis








As we went to print, two families were about to move into the brand new ‘Everyday Homes’ in Tonar Street – the first of the new State houses to be completed in Northcote.

The two families moving into the first of the Everyday Homes to be finished have very similar reactions to the change. The mums – Lesieli and Lopeta – are both excited to be offered a brand new home. “It’s fresh and clean, and quiet,” says Lopeta, who has lived in Richardson Place for over 10 years and works at the Anne Maree Rest Home on the same street. Lopeta and her husband, Ofa, have three boys still at home and four that have flown the nest.

Lopeta, Aisea and Ofa. Lopeta and Ofa have two other teenaged boys still living at home.


Lesieli, who is moving from Fraser Avenue, likes the layout of the new house. Her husband, Kolo, couldn’t be in the photo as he was at work. His mum lives over the road, and Lesieli knows lots of other families in Tonar Street. Both Lesieli and Lopeta’s children have mixed feelings about giving up their old home. “Lots of memories at our old place,” says Latu (22). “We’ll have to make new ones here.”

Above Lesieli with two of her daughters, Talaheu (15) and Latu (22), and her niece, Fee, who lives over the road.


What is the role of a TLO? A balancing act! The very busy role of the TLO is support households who are impacted by business decisions such as redevelopment. We support them from the time we know they may be impacted to the end of the process whether that be moving or remaining where they currently live. We have a ‘tenant first’ policy ensuring tenants hear news from the TLO first and that is really important to us. Where did you start off? I started as a Tenancy Manager in Wellington and after relocating to Auckland I have had a number of roles. I spent a number of years working on the “Healthy Housing” programme which focused on ensuring our houses were fit for purpose and meet the needs of the families living in them. How long have you been a TLO? I have been a TLO for the past 4 years. What’s the greatest part of your role? I love working with people. This role is wonderful because I get to spend time with families and really get to know them. As a TLO you support households through what can be a difficult process for some and we are there every step of the way to find the best solution for the family. I love seeing families settled in their alternative homes after a move.


Making New Memories

Iutita Sefo is your local Tenancy Liaison Officer and has been with Housing New Zealand for 15 years.


“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” So said Steve Jobs, founder of Apple.

Tamsyn was working for a private developer before she moved to HLC in February 2016. She says she gets a kick out of working on a government project that has been master planned, meaning there’s a clear vision and nothing is left to chance. “My understanding of the residents has really grown as I’ve gotten to know Northcote and the project. It’s rewarding to know that we’re having a positive impact on people’s lives by providing homes that are better for their health and well-being.”

Firstly, thank you for your patience over the last 12 months as the Northcote Development has gotten underway. Change is disruptive, but the changes brought about by the project are going to be good. Good for the families who are moving out of Housing New Zealand houses built over half a century ago, into new, warm modern homes designed for the way we live now. Good for Northcote as we renew the HNZ housing, make the streets the project touches more attractive, and create the greenway (see page 22). And with Stage 2 coming it’s going to be good for Aucklanders as a whole, too, as we pick up the pace and begin to deliver quality homes at more affordable prices than most on the market. Take a look at the timeline which shows what we’ve achieved so far and what we plan to achieve by the time the next issue of Everyday Northcote is due out in Autumn 2018.

The table shows the numbers of homes in the first two stages and who they’re being built for.


‘Affordable’ means houses that have a capped price and certain criteria is applied by the government to limit who can buy or rent one. They’re aimed at people who are earning but finding it hard to afford a house

‘Market’ means homes that will be sold on the open market. The aim for these homes is to keep the quality high but the price as low as possible, and most will be beneath the Auckland median house price. The 424 homes in Stages 1 and 2 make up just over a third of an eventual 1200 new homes planned for Northcote as part of the development project.

Stage 1 underway


‘State’ means new state houses that will be owned by Housing New Zealand and lived in by their clients. ‘


Dec 2017

THE FIRST TWO STAGES BY THE NUMBERS at market prices, often first homebuyers.

Sept 2016




Early 2018 STAGE ONE

16 apartments underway April 2018 STAGE ONE

All families moved in 34 more homes complete STAGE TWO

Stage 2 underway



First 9 homes complete




Meet Tamsyn McDonald, one of the many people who is helping bring the vision for Northcote to life.


Disclaimer: Projects this size change over time with new ideas and new requirements. Stay up to date by signing up for emails at and, or visit the info centre.


Tamsyn McDonald says she finds her work in Northcote very satisfying. As Associate Precinct Director for HLC, the company overseeing the development, her role is to manage the successful delivery of the project. She’s a people person, which is helpful, as the project involves a vast number of people from the clients of Housing New Zealand who are being relocated, to the consultants that help design houses or parks, to the engineers that look after infrastructure, to the project managers and the builders building the houses. “I love that part of it – talking to and solving problems with a wide range of people, both on site and off,” says Tamsyn.


59 225 – 77 – 63 59 365

NEW HOMES, THREE NEW STREETS AND A POCKET PARK The Northcote Development is being tackled in stages to keep disruption to residents to a minimum. Stage 1 is well down the track, with the houses in Cadness Street and Potter Avenue under construction and the first of the homes in Tonar Street now completed (see page 17) .

What we found in Stage 1 was that some of the materials we had hoped to recycle weren’t suitable for a range of reasons, including the presence of asbestos. However, we recycled as much of the original materials as we could and that is our intention, once again, for Stage 2.

Planning is well underway for Stage 2. More new homes will be built in Tonar Street, Fraser Avenue and Richardson Place to replace the original Housing New Zealand properties with warm, dry, modern homes. The Tenancy Liaison Team has begun working through the relocation process with the Housing New Zealand clients who are affected. By Autumn 2018 we will be removing the next batch of old houses so building can begin again.

Stage 2 includes a new pocket park which can be reached from various streets, including at the end of Richardson Place. This linear park will link Fraser Avenue to Lake Road and is the first stage of the greenway to be built. It will include a shared walk and cycle path, some play and furniture elements, and wide berms for trees. The pocket park will be a community gathering space to be enjoyed by all.




GREENWAY KEY For more information visit

Green space (native plants) Sportsfields/ kick-a-ball space Path Play and gathering Shared path (walk and cycle)

1. Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve (Kaka Reserve)


3. Kaka Street extension


4. Greenslade Reserve 5. Town Centre 6. Cadness Reserve

Path entry and exit

7. Schools Edge

Alternative path

8. Cadness Loop Reserve

Existing stream

On Saturday the 28th of October the greenway project team held an Information Day for Northcote residents to learn more about the greenway.

2. Kaka Street

Road crossing

Lake Road upgrade including cycle route

Community Information Day

Onepoto Primary School


9. Link to Hato Petera College

Northcote Intermediate School

10. Linear Park

Proposed stream



6 2






What is a greenway? Imagine a place where you can walk or cycle, kids can play and learn about nature, you can meet people or simply sit quietly on a park bench enjoying the sounds of the birds in the trees. What we’ve just described is a greenway – essentially a network of public open spaces.



Northcote’s greenway will connect local destinations including the schools, town centre and public transport. It will follow the path of the old Awataha Stream to the sea, running from Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve (also known as Kākā Reserve) in the west through Greenslade Reserve and the town centre, and down between homes and schools to Akoranga Reserve. The greenway will be designed with the community so that it becomes something that is treasured and cared for by everyone. The design will also help with water flow during periods of heavy rain – reducing flooding in the area.

Initial designs have been prepared by Panuku Development Auckland and HLC alongside the Kaipātiki Local Board and mana whenua. Construction of the greenway is planned to start next year and will be completed in various stages over the next two to three years, subject to funding being approved by Auckland Council.


Photographs from the Information Day. Right: Kaipatiki Local Board Chair, Danielle Grant and Auckland Councillor, Richard Hills.

THANK YOU! Through a series of workshops with people in the community we’ve had valuable input into the master plan for the greenway. Our thanks to mana whenua; Kaipātiki

Local Board; the Mana Group and students from Northcote Intermediate; and representatives from our Pacific Island communities for your participation. As the project evolves the community will be kept informed and given more opportunities to get involved.





Aunty Mei Mei, Dumpling Whisperer of my childhood, taught our family about dumplings in the early 60’s. Aunty Mei Mei was a painfully thin chain smoking Shanghainese Lady who wore a chignon low on the back of her neck and lived five doors down from my grandparents in Emerald Hill Road in Singapore. Family folklore relates that her five daughters had different fathers and that her late night activities were legendary. Despite her exotic proclivities, in the plain light of day, Aunty Mei Mei made the best dumplings ever.


Sprinting ahead to the present, many, many dumplings are consumed in our city every day and luckily, some of the best “Mei Mei-esque” dumplings come from Northcote, straight out of Jenny Li’s Dumpling Ace kitchen.

The Dumpling Whisperer Over 5,000 miles (and half a century) from the cuisine of her childhood, Connie Clarkson finds dumplings in Northcote to equal her legendary Aunty Mei Mei’s. Photography: David St George


The Dumpling Whisperer of the new millennium and I sit in the middle table of Dumpling Ace mid-afternoon with customers eating dumplings, spooning beef broth from huge steaming bowls of shaved noodles or nibbling from metal skewers

Dumpling and noodle making is the third step in Jenny’s journey to her restaurant in the Northcote township. After 12 years working in a bank, she arrived from Shanxi in 2006 with a friend to start a printing business. Jenny reminisces that “it was a first time printing company and we didn’t do it well. We had heaps of problems.” Step two was better. The print shop made way for a hair salon above the Northcote Pharmacy which she sold and it in turn gave way to Dumpling Ace in 2012. Jenny has been making dumplings, noodles and her wonderful menu of Northern Chinese cuisine since 2012. She says of her varied trajectory to dumpling heaven that “people from overseas can do it – in NZ you are free and you can do anything you want to – it’s good.” Together with the exceptional quality of the food, this pioneering, staunch spirit is what makes the diverse food culture of our city and especially of Northcote worth fighting for.

that we shouldn’t have “too much flavour (in one dumpling). I try some places that put too many flavours so you can’t taste what it really is and it’s not real. We do it the traditional way, that’s the most yummy.” Freezing dumplings is not a problem – just not for too long. Three days should do it.

Shanxi means “West of the Mountains” – specifically, west of the Taihang Mountains in the North of China. Shanxi cuisine is most well known for its extensive use of vinegar as a condiment, as well as for a huge variety of noodle dishes, particularly knife-cut noodles or daoxiao mian which are served with a range of sauces.

The Northcote veteran has seen many changes over the 12 years. When she first arrived, she recalls more kiwi shops and cafés, a hardware shop and a sports shop. She says it’s a shame they have all gone but this is made up for by the fact that there is plenty of good food.

Jenny says that learning to cook dumplings and noodles came naturally because “we don’t eat rice in Shanxi, we eat noodles – we make it fresh every day – it’s very popular in China.” They make in excess of 1500 dumplings a day by hand at an approximate rate of 30 dumplings every five minutes and the dumplings are served steamed or fried. You can also take a frozen pack home to cook yourself. At $14 on average for 20 dumplings, they will not break the bank but will definitely feed the family. Their most popular is pork, chives and prawn closely followed by lamb skewers.

Jenny’s wish for Northcote is the return of the cafés, hardware shops and a proper mall. She also thinks that having a monthly one day market in the carpark would be useful for the residents of the homes around the town centre. “The residents who live nearby can have stalls (at the one day market) and (this will) make jobs for them too – will be good for them.” She reflects that her customers have changed a lot. Looking back 15 years, students came but now they are parents and they bring their kids and their parents – three generations come and “they are all my customers.”

The secret behind a great dumpling is freshness and authenticity with singularity of flavour. The Dumpling Whisperer says

Dumpling Ace is open each day from 11am – 9pm, closed on Mondays



Aunty Mei Mei’s dumplings were so very simple. They were made of pork mince, blanched chopped spinach and a splash of soy sauce wrapped in her own hand-rolled, paper-thin wrappers and served boiled in the clearest of broths, sprinkled with a few deep fried shallots and chopped spring onions.

threaded with fragrant lamb pieces. The aromas are delectable and everyone seems really happy to be there.



MY PLACE Onepoto Primary’s ‘world famous on the Shore’ cultural festival – 26 years running, 40 schools taking part, 56 performances, up to 60 students on the stage for each performance. Wow, Onepoto! You did it again! P H OTO G R A P H Y: DAV I D S T G E O R G E


Profile for Hobsonville Point

Everyday Northcote Jan 2018  

Everyday Northcote Jan 2018