A C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R F O R M A N U K A U
B R O U G H T T O Y O U B Y PA C I F I C G A R D E N S
SO U T H
South is brought to you by Pacific Gardens, a new suburban oasis of terrace homes and apartments being developed in the heart of Manukau. Find out more at pacificgardens.co.nz
Welcome to the first issue of South, the community newspaper which celebrates the people and places that make our neighbourhood special.
2 My perfect weekend in
14 Feature: Drawn to Water.
South Auckland: Ian Ferguson.
The team behind the Vector Wero Whitewater
4 Ask a Gardener: The Botanic
Park on the development
Gardens’ head of camellias,
of a world-class sports facility
that also welcomes the neighbourhood in.
6 Feature: Real, Raw and Relatable. Author Maree
18 Best-kept secrets:
Steunebrink talks about the
Otuataua Stonefields and
hobby that became
a transformative project. 19 Meet the team behind 10 Why I Love My Job:
Pacific Gardens: Changda.
Kaitlin Hodgson at
TA N 20 The urban design C O M B E
vision for Pacific Gardens: 12 The Rockshop’s
O R M Narbey Grahame I STO
N R D
on local music.
13 Manukau’s latest eatery, S
PA PATO E TO E
D T R B R O N C O SD O S TUEBA K H O U S E E R
NINETEEN EIGHTY ONE
TOTA R A PA R K
VE T A
VECTOR WERO MANUKAU
W H I T E W AT E R PA R K
PA C I F I C GARDENS
R W AY
REPUBLIC BAR & KITCHEN
NW RO WESTFIELD MANUKAU
H I L LT O P R D
CA THE ROCKSHOP
OL R D
E ST GEORG
H SC HO
TE I RIRA
F L AT
D I R
D H R
VOLARÉ R E S TA U R A N T
A U C K L A N D B OTA N I C GARDENS
UT T SO
D S R
4 8 HOU R S
Auckland Botanic Gardens offers 64 hectares within which to walk, reflect and explore.
Olympic gold-medal champion canoeist and leader of water operations at the newly-opened Vector Wero Whitewater Park, Ian Ferguson talks about the local spots that make a weekend in Manukau special.
First thing Saturday morning, I’m
or if I’m with my family and the
usually… Often at my bach up north,
grandkids, we go to The Blacksmith
but if I’m in Auckland I go for a walk
in Takanini or Broncos in Manukau.
with my wife through the rose gardens
On Sunday morning, I am usually…
at the Auckland Botanic Gardens
Out doing the shopping at Westfield
(a particularly good idea if we have
Manukau, or going around the DIY
the grandkids staying with us).
shops. I love just looking in these
Breakfast/brunch is… A flat white
shops to get good ideas.
and a scone at Café Miko in the
I spend the rest of the day… If we
have the grandkids staying with us,
My favourite weekend activity is…
we often take them to Butterfly Creek.
Heading to Vector Wero for a paddle
My favourite Sunday dinner is…
down the rapids. Alternatively, we all
A roast: lamb, potatoes and pumpkin.
go on a bike ride through Totara Park.
I wind down on Sunday night by…
Saturday night out is… Often at Volaré
Drinking good wine and catching
Italian restaurant in the Gardens,
up on some TV.
Café Miko proudly overlooks the Botanic Gardens.
Westfield Manukau offers shopping, dining, movies, children’s entertainment and more.
Rafting at Vector Wero Whitewater Park.
" ...the Auckland Botanic Gardens is a particularly good idea if we have the grandkids staying with us. " IAN FERGUSON
MANUKAU’S BACK GARDEN
MARK FIELDE R
Mark Fielder talks to South about Manukau’s beloved back garden, which receives nearly a million visitors each year.
Mark Fielder, the Auckland Botanic Gardens’ collection curator of camellias and magnolias, has worked at the beautiful 64-hectare site since 2005. Well-versed in both horticulture and the topography
to the public, and then they put money
have been coming here since I first
towards some new sculptures in the
started in 2005. You see all their kids
gardens. They operate the Wiri Rambler,
the little train that takes tours around the
What are the unique properties
gardens on weekends.
of the land in South Auckland,
And lastly, there’s the Te Araroa
from a gardening point of view?
of South Auckland, he talked to South about this
Walkway, the walking track that runs
It’s a sweeping terrain, with a lot of clay
beloved free attraction and answers some practical
the length of New Zealand and crosses
in the soil. That means we need a great
under the motorway, through the back
deal of compost and manure to create
of the Botanic Gardens on our forest
a fertile, fine soil to garden in. Because
trail and then to Totara Park. It has linked
of the heat and rain, in summer every-
everything up really well, and means that
thing grows like crazy – it just bolts.
questions for home gardeners.
people on the other side of the motorway
The good thing is, the gardens will
have walking access to us. We see a lot
always offer something to see. In summer
of people from overseas coming through
we have perennials, in autumn there are
now via the track.
deciduous trees with those beautiful
Apparently you’re getting nearly
golden leaves, and in spring there are
Can you introduce us to the Botanic
What else can people expect
a million visitors per year. What’s
daffodils and flowering cherries. In winter,
Gardens, and tell us a little about its
to find here?
the big drawcard?
we’ve got the camellias — which is my
We hold workshops and events where
People come here to relax. It’s good for
department — flowering away. The aloes
It was originally farmland before it was
the public can come along and learn
your mind and body. It’s a very positive
and the African plants will be flowering
purchased by Manukau City Council.
about anything to do with gardening
place. I just walked past a couple of
too, and at the end of winter the magno-
It opened in 1982 and slowly flourished
— from what’s going on in the garden
people who didn’t know each other who
lias get going. And of course the natives,
into what it is now. It has changed a lot
industry, to garden maintenance, to
had got talking and were sharing pictures
with all their colours, textures and forms,
since then, and today we have 13 different
growing vegetables or pruning fruit trees.
of their trips. So yes, people meet and
collections within it — perennials, natives,
There is also a horticultural library open
chat here, and kids can run around.
a flax collection, spring blossom valley,
during the week for people to visit, and
edible and herb gardens, a trial garden,
they can talk to the gardeners as well
in anyone else’s way. There’s even an
roses, camellias, magnolias, conifers, aloes
— we’re always eager to help.
off-leash area down the back so their
and a children’s garden. There’s also a
The non-profit volunteer organis-
It’s so big that no one is getting
dogs can roam around. I have regular
New Zealand native ideas garden, to give
ation Friends of the Auckland Botanic
visitors who I say hello to every morning,
people inspiration for their own gardens.
Gardens has a garden shop selling plants
bang on time every day. Some of them
FAQ : A S K A G A R D E N E R
Mark Fielder is the curator of camellias and magnolias, two of the 13 collections at the Auckland
Help! Where do I start?
the different textures and colours
Getting the right plants for the
provide a nice contrast. Some
right situation is very important.
of the natives can be used as
Look at the size of the site and its
hedging too. The effect can be
environmental conditions. Where
very lush and colourful.
does the sun fall during the course of the day? Are you going to get
How do I prepare my
frosts? These days, sections are
garden before planting?
getting smaller, and people’s lives
There is a lot of clay in the soil
are very busy, so you also need
around Auckland, so to get a finer,
to think about what you can grow,
more fertile base you need to add
given your available space and
compost and manure rather than
time. Do your research and draw
planting straight into the clay.
a plan beforehand so you get the
" There’s also a New Zealand native ideas garden, to give people inspiration for their own gardens. " MARK FIELDER
spacing between plants right,
What’s your favourite
and balance elements like trees
trend in horticulture at
and groundcover (incidentally,
many types of groundcover plants
People are getting into growing
provide good scent).
vegetables. They can harvest from their crops, their kids can learn
What grows best in the
a lot, save the seeds, plant them
again, watch them grow and eat
Totaras and other native plants
the produce at the end. It’s hugely
grow well without too much work,
popular, for a really good reason.
but subtropicals also work well in Auckland. You can mix them in with natives, because those often have big glossy leaves, and
F E AT U R E : R E A L , R A W A N D R E L ATA B L E
SOU T H AUC K L A N D
The Humans of South Auckland book: Real, Raw and Relatable.
It was, says project manager Maree Steunebrink, initially just a Facebook page that “got out of control”. Today, the official Humans of South Auckland page stands at more than 25,000 followers.
The Humans of South Auckland, or HOSA
in the project’s early days to write the
was given to local intermediates and high
for short, Facebook page posts a new
accompanying profiles for Jenke’s
schools, libraries, GP clinics and NGOs
she says. “From that hobby Facebook
profile every Wednesday, many of which
— anywhere they would be accessible
page, we became a trust, published a
are syndicated in the Manukau Courier.
to the community. Each of the ’Humans’
book, and are constantly seeing awesome
This is generating interest in the area
she says. “Jas was just going to put
involved got a copy, and the remainder
stuff come from the people we’ve inter-
and its colourful community around the
content on it when she had time. But
were put on sale, just to prove the book’s
viewed. The feedback from the public
country and beyond.
once we had an official Facebook page,
viability. They sold immediately, mostly
has been amazing, and for the people
we suddenly got 5,000 likes.”
in New Zealand and Australia but some
we profile, it’s a massive thing. They’re
went as far abroad as America and
so proud to be in print, and happy their
story is out there helping others.
The 10-person-strong group of volunteers that photograph, write,
“At the start, it was just a hobby,”
“It’s been an amazing, crazy ride,”
After that, news spread fast.
design, administer and carry out the
Australia’s Frankie magazine did a profile
many tasks associated with the charitable
on Jenke, followed by the television news
enterprise has also published a book of
show Seven Sharp, which covered one
the same name, 1,000 copies of which
of the HOSA stories. Shortly afterwards,
were first donated to the South Auckland
Armando Torrealba, a graphic designer
from Chile, arrived to work in Auckland
HOSA was originally founded by Jasmine Jenke, a dance and media-
and called to ask about volunteering. “He said, ‘Hi, I design things’,
studies teacher at a local high school.
and we realised we needed a website,
Tragically, in her first year as a teacher,
so he did our first one for free,” says
one of the students she was close to
Steunebrink. “That’s when we finally
committed suicide. She started the
sat down and worked out who we were,
Facebook page as a way of moving
as well as our goals and how to achieve
forward, while also giving the people
them, because we were just a teacher
around her a reason to have a sense of
and a social worker — we had no experi-
purpose and hope in their community.
ence in doing something like this.”
Inspired by Humans of New York,
Jenke was subsequently hired on
“When I meet these individuals,
the back of her HOSA work for a full-time
I walk away inspired. I’m so proud to
" It reaffirms the fact that we live in an incredible place with incredible people. They’re just doing life, but the time and energy they give to others is incredible. " MAREE STEUNEBRINK
One of the first things the two
Brandon Stanton’s virally successful
decided on was publishing a book.
photoblog and New York Times' best-
“We were so naïve,” laughs Steunebrink.
selling book, she aimed to create a
“We just thought it would be fun and
position at the DHB, and will be launch-
be associated with HOSA. It reaffirms
similar project, one that celebrated
not that hard — totally sweet! Armando
ing a similar storytelling project called
the fact that we live in an incredible place
her neighbourhood by sharing portraits
volunteered to design it, so we figured
Humans of Aotearoa from her new base
with incredible people. They’re just doing
and stories of its overlooked achievers
it would be no problem.”
in Nelson. Meanwhile, Steunebrink stayed
life, but the time and energy they give
on to run the operation with a 10-person
to others is incredible. There’s just so
volunteer work, 120 humans and several
volunteer team — while also juggling
much good going on here.”
we were getting ourselves into,” says
funding rounds later, Humans of South
motherhood and her job as a children’s
Steunebrink, Jenke’s close friend and
Auckland: Real, Raw and Relatable was
social worker at Counties Manukau DHB
cousin by marriage, who came on board
published. The bulk of the 2,000 copies
three days a week.
and quiet role models. “We had literally no idea what
A year and a half of after-hours
REINA “I’m passionate about Pacific people
blog is to say, ‘Hey, there’s so much
in my community. As a lawyer, I feel
more to us!‘. Right now, I’m working
I have an amazing privilege where
on a series that showcases educated
I cannot only empathise with people’s
Pacific Island women who are
struggles and what they go through,
succeeding in their respective careers.
but I also have an opportunity to
I can’t say I’m sure what the
help them with what is often a really
future holds for me, but I have this
unwavering belief that my purpose
It’s part of the reason why I
is to help people in my community.
have my blog. I want to make Pacific
So I’m going to continue working
Island role models more accessible.
as hard as I can to do that.”
When I was growing up I wasn’t good at sport or performing arts…
I was a dork. The purpose of my
" I looked around me and saw a huge amount of untapped potential in our Pasifika and Maori youth. This inspired me to help revive my childhood football club. Hone
LORELLE “I’m a classical pianist. It’s hard work.
images, to conjure up emotions, to
I have often felt isolated, anxious,
express myself in ways that words
vulnerable, not good enough, and
cannot, and to connect, communi-
with a huge (and unnecessary) need
cate and move audiences on a differ-
to please everyone and strive for
ent level. This is like no other feeling
perfection. Being an artist often
in the world.”
means sacrificing a lot – time, energy, money, stability… sanity?! But, no matter how many times I’ve almost given up, what always seems to draw me back is knowing that I have the ability to tell stories, to create
“When I was younger I read this
called ‘HopeWalkNZ‘. Our aim was
quote which gripped my heart –
to raise greater awareness around
‘What kind of person are you? You
suicide and promote suicide preven-
see, there are people who make
tion agencies, which are already in
things happen, there are people who
place. Our dream was that this ‘walk’
watch things happen, and there are
would grow into
people who wonder what happened.
a national walk of suicide awareness.
To be successful, you need to be a
My mother is my hero. " ZAC
Our dream has taken its first
person who makes things happen.‘
steps with our first walk completed
I was so gripped by this quote that I
in South Auckland. There was an
said to myself before God, let me be
amazing turnout of all ages and
a person who ‘makes things happen‘.
nationalities. Everyone marched in
I’m a big dreamer, I love
yellow together, as a sign of love,
making a difference. Six years ago
unity and awareness.“
I lost a good friend to suicide. Wanting to be someone who ‘makes things happen’, I started a movement
" ‘I am an Iraqi boy. I am Iraqi to the bone. But this vessel of flesh and bone has been marinating in Kiwiana for the past 16 years and it has penetrated through to my heart and soul. " RANEEM
Know a local Human you admire? Nominate them for inclusion: www.facebook.com/HOSAOfficial www.instagram.com/ humansofsouthauckland www.hosa.co.nz
WHY I LOVE MY JOB
Kaitlin Hodgson, senior member of the front-line cashier team at Rainbowâ€™s End, talks to South about why she loves her job.
Who are you and what do you do?
So a new conversation is always
I’m Kaitlin. I’m 21 years old, and I’m a
being sparked up, because there are
senior member of the front-line cashier
so many different guests.
team at Rainbow’s End. I’ve been working here nearly three years.
Tell us your best work-related story. Our CEO, Chris Deere, has a quote:
What’s your favourite part
“It takes five seconds to make some-
of the job?
one’s day.” It’s the motto we use
It’s the unique culture. There are so
around here. On my first day at work,
many different departments and even
I had to walk from the car park to
though we’re all on different teams,
the head office on the other side of
we all come together as one. We get
the park, and I was a nervous wreck,
along outside of work as well, so that
trying to remember door codes and
positive spirit really builds up when
you’re working here. One of the reasons it’s special about 16 years old through to their late
they were saying good morning or
20s, so it’s quite a youthful group. It’s
introducing themselves, and I just
vibrant and energetic in nature, and
felt so welcomed and that it was such
because we’re like that naturally, we
a friendly place, because they were
bring that to work. That’s the essence
Rainbow’s End offers entertainment for all ages.
The few seconds they took
How would you describe the
to do that made me feel great about
South Auckland community
working here, and I’ve carried that
and the people who visit
through from the beginning. I always
say ’hi’ to everyone, and that energy
It’s very diverse. The local customers
comes through to our customers, and
are mostly family-oriented people, and
we get such positive feedback from
we run a lot of children’s events as well.
them. So I guess it does just take five
We also have many tourists, who come
seconds to make someone’s day!
from everywhere in New Zealand, from from all over the world.
members from various departments and they all greeted me, whether
Dargaville to Invercargill, as well as
I passed at least eight staff
is that our front-line workers range from
of Rainbow’s End.
" Our CEO, Chris Deere, has a quote: ‘It takes five seconds to make someone’s day.‘ It’s the motto we use around here.
The roller coaster in action.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK…
Grahame Narbey of the Rockshop is in the business of bringing
The Rockshop’s Grahame Narbey talks to South about Manukau’s diverse local music scene. With its red-leather sofa, tributes to
to schools that are restocking yearly.
Prince and David Bowie (RIP), and
We sell everything from high-end
huge wall of guitars ranging from
digital equipment to Cook Island
beautifully-made acoustic models to
log drums and erhus, a two-stringed
brightly-coloured electric numbers
Chinese violin with a haunting sound.
(as well as the odd ukulele and banjo),
And obviously, guitars. The only thing
the Rockshop does exactly what it says
we haven’t had here yet is bagpipes.”
on the label: it’s a shop in the business of bringing rock to Manukau. However, as well as providing
The business is also heavily involved with the Smokefree Rockquest, the nationwide, live,
a social hub for the thriving local music
original-music youth talent quest,
scene, the Rockshop’s reach is wide,
which over the course of the past
says manager Grahame Narbey, who
30 years has made stars out of a host
has worked in local music retail for
of young musicians, including Broods
almost 20 years and also has his own
covers band, Legend, which plays regularly in the local area. “We get everyone in here, from
Currently, says Narbey, his big sellers are acoustic guitars and ukuleles: “At the moment, ukuleles
parents buying a first guitar for their
are huge. They’ve had a massive resur-
five-year-olds, to professional
gence. They used to be frowned upon,
musicians playing regular gigs, to older
but now they’re cool again!”
guys who used to play guitar in their teens and are getting back into it,
rock to Manukau.
BEST PLACES FOR LIVE MUSIC IN MANUKAU OUR LOCAL
The unpretentious sports bar is
Guada’s music offerings go
referred to as “El Local” by regulars,
all weekend, but Sunday is the
and hosts weekend gigs.
best time to catch its regular
254 Roscommon Road, Wiri
live session band.
3 Ronwood Avenue guada.co.nz
NINETEEN EIGHTY ONE If you’re lucky you might catch
REPUBLIC BAR & KITCHEN
Narbey’s band, Legend, playing
This bustling spot has live acoustic
at this venue and eatery.
music on Fridays, starting at 5pm.
712 Great South Road
Westfield Manukau Mall
T H E D A I LY G R I N D
One of Manukau’s newest food and drink openings, this South Auckland branch of original Vulcan Lane coffee-purveyor Melba is bright, airy and beautifully designed. Café Melba is always bustling with locals coming in for coffee, a chat and
and then they come back in the after-
something from the ever-changing
noon. We have people who work in
menu, which ranges from baked treats
the area, and people who used to work
to classic breakfast fare like smashed
around here but still come back to visit
avocado on toast or waffles. Lunch
can range from the ‘Tokyo lunchbox‘ An ever-changing menu as well as cabinet food means you’re never short on choice.
“They come in the morning,
“Manukau has changed a great
of crispy sesame chicken, stone-oven
deal. There is so much going on these
pizzas to fish tacos.
days, and there are always new people
Lisa Holes is the manager of
arriving — they even come straight from
Café Melba and we sat down for a
the airport sometimes. We’re pretty
coffee to talk about her day.
much always busy.”
“The great thing about Manukau? I love the people. Most here are regulars, and I know them all by name, Café Melba combines
so it’s more of a friendship than a
a ’hip’ atmosphere with
F E AT U R E : D R A W N T O W AT E R
V E C TO R WE RO
Vector Wero Whitewater Park is a world-class destination. It is New Zealandâ€™s first facility to offer an artificial river and watercourse for recreation, sports, emergency services training, school programmes and youth development.
Designed using international best practice, Vector Wero Whitewater Park combines high-grade whitewater courses for experienced rafters, with a large pond for younger groups to practise water-confidence skills. South talks to Ian Ferguson about how this new facility is a game-changer for Manukau.
“People love being near water,” says
project finally ‘turned on the taps‘ in
Ferguson. “It’s something about the
March 2016, opening to the public late
movement of water that attracts people,
and the energy around it.” He should know. With five medals
Ferguson was initially inspired when he ‘fell in love with‘ the Sydney Olympic
to his name, the canoeist is New Zealand’s
whitewater course, which was the world’s
most successful Olympian athlete, and has
first. “People are drawn to water,” he says.
built his career and life in, on and around
“Everywhere they’ve put a whitewater
the rivers, lakes and competitive water-
park, property values have risen. Having
courses of our country and the world.
a body of water in your area changes it
Ferguson, or simply “Ferg” to his friends and colleagues at the Vector Wero
dramatically.” Today, on a breezy, bright afternoon
Whitewater Park, teamed up with CEO
in Manukau City, the park’s artificial rivers
Richard Jeffery to bring New Zealand’s
and lake are filled with bright-orange rafts
first (and so far, only) purpose-built white-
filled with excited school groups learning
water park project to Manukau. Fifteen
to brave the rapids in a controlled
years in the planning, the world-class
environment — continued on page 16
" Everywhere they’ve put a whitewater park, property values have risen. Having a body of water in your area changes it dramatically. " IAN FERGUSON
" Members of the public are free to enter the park and wander the well-landscaped grounds, which include a café and bar, barbecue areas and a bridge overlooking the 9,000-square-metre lake of clear, fresh aqua water...
other sports facilities, the park is busy
Maui’s waka and the shape of the plaza
and activated from the moment New
is the jawbone he used as a fish-hook.
Zealand’s top-level slalom team comes
We show a three-minute animation of Maui
to practice here at 7am until well after
pulling up the North Island from the sea to
the park closes to the public at 5pm.
all the kids when they come in, which ends
Alongside its water-centric
with the invitation: ‘Kia kaha: accept the
activities, Vector Wero operates as
challenge’. The park’s whole concept, and
a social enterprise, running the new
that of the trust behind it, is about giving
Momentum Hub, which gives office space
kids what they need to set goals.”
to youth-focused charities, from a block
The large cultural events like Diwali
of retrofitted shipping containers run
and the Chinese Lunar Festivals held at
by a Tesla solar-powered battery.
the Events Centre have turned it into the
“Basically, every person in a
region’s unofficial town hall, says Jeffery,
corporate group that visits helps one
who is working with LandSmart, Pacific
school pupil,” says Ferguson. “We use
Gardens’ development agency, on
that to support the community. But
building an urban plan in which each
because people don’t have to travel
feature is well integrated, and maintains natural connections and human flow.
and skilled kayakers navigating the sharp
and thrills even experienced kayakers.
down-country to get to a river, we’re still
turns and bollards of the advanced river
Designed by a global team including
the cheapest rafting in the country. It’s
Waterwater Parks International (WPI) and
also far more exciting than a natural
place,” he says. “For the people who
experts in water movement from the Czech
river, because the danger has been taken
move into Pacific Gardens, it’ll be brilliant
to enter the park and wander the well-
Technical University of Prague, the park’s
out — but we can control the water to
— because as well as a town hall, they’ll
landscaped grounds, which include a
two rivers offer various degrees of challenge
make it rougher and more fun.”
have the water park, which will be like a
café and bar, barbecue areas and a bridge
for different levels of skill, catering to
overlooking the 9,000-square-metre lake
everyone from children learning essential
the park shares its precinct with the waka-
in for free and have a picnic or use the
of clear, fresh aqua water where school
water-survival methods to corporate
shaped Vodafone Events Centre and Pacific
café. When we started out, we wanted an
and corporate groups practise their water-
groups doing some aquatic team-building,
Gardens, whose residents will be able to
attraction that was internationally recog-
to film crews working on special effects
walk straight to the lake on a path through
nised but still relevant to our community.
to emergency services training.
its dedicated green belt.
I believe we’ve achieved that.”
Members of the public are free
Just across the water, there’s the world’s highest man-made waterfall, a sheer 4.5-metre drop that challenges
What this means in a nutshell, say Ferguson and Jeffery, is that, unlike many
Located just off Great South Road,
“We want it to feel like it’s all one
country club for them. Anyone can walk
“The masterplan is all about the legend of Maui,” says Jeffery. “There’s
VECTOR WERO BY NUMBERS
20 million L I T R E S O F W AT E R I N TOTA L
14,000 litres/second PUSHED THROUGH 4 GIANT PUMPS
300 metres ADVANCED RIVER-COURSE
The whitewater park boasts a poolside café and bar, housed in contemporary container architecture.
4.5 metres THE HIGHEST MAN-MADE W AT E R FA L L I N T H E W O R L D
The rapids in action.
O T U AT A U A
M A N U K A U â€™ S B E S T- K E P T S E C R E T: O T U ATA U A S T O N E F I E L D S A N D A V O C A D O O R C H A R D This 100-hectare volcanic reserve was
The stonefields are sacred
established to protect the large-scale
to descendants of Te Wai O Hua and
archaeological remains of the com-
Waikato iwi of the Tainui waka, so
munities that lived on this land for
please be respectful when visiting and
hundreds of years. There is also a
keep to the marked walks. Tangata
community avocado orchard, where
whenua has requested that no food
visitors are permitted to harvest the
be consumed on the reserve, though
fruit for free between November and
water bottles are acceptable.
March (with a five-per-person limit).
" There is also a community avocado orchard, where visitors are permitted to harvest the fruit for free between November and March. "
Each visitor is allowed to pick up to five avocados free of charge.
Mr Yanbing Liu, General Manager NZ, Changda International Development Ltd.
[Pacific Gardens‘] location, proximity to Manukau City Centre... and readiness for development all made it the perfect site for compact,
Pacific Gardens‘ project leadership team.
well-designed, high-density living. " M R YA N B I N G L I U
MEET THE DEVELOPER OF MANUKAU’S N E W N E I G H B O U R H O O D : PA C I F I C G A R D E N S
Changda International Development Ltd is the developer behind Pacific Gardens. Its grandparent company, Weifang Changda Construction Group, has almost 70 years’ experience in China. South spoke with Mr Yanbing Liu, General Manager of Changda, about his company and their latest project.
Changda is more than a property
and readiness for development all
development company: it has subsidiaries
make it the perfect site for compact,
that develop infrastructure projects,
well-designed, high-density living.
civic and commercial buildings and parks, industrial complexes and other
What makes your housing developments so successful?
subsidiaries that manufacture materials
Changda’s philosophy is that the key
to the success of any new community
Tell us about your latest project
is long-term investment at a level that
ensures both quality and affordability
When completed, Pacific Gardens will be made up of over 1,200 beautiful
for the home-owner. With all our developments, and
new homes. These will be a mix of
especially Pacific Gardens, our team has
stand- alone houses, terrace homes,
a consistent vision for a sustainable and
walk-up apartments and six- to eight-
enduring community. This vision drives
Tell us a bit about Changda –
in Albany, although we will be moving
storey apartment blocks interspersed
how the development will function,
where are you located?
to larger premises soon, as we are
with green spaces and gardens.
both now and in 30 years’ time.
We are a subsidiary of Weifang Changda Construction Group Co. Ltd, which was
growing quickly. What does Changda do?
This is the second large-scale
Our overarching goal is for
residential project that Changda has
Pacific Gardens to become part of the
established in 1949. Our home base is
Changda is a large-scale property
initiated in New Zealand. We’ve worked
wider Manukau community, building
in Weifang city in central Shandong
development and construction company
here since 2013, when we began the
on its rich cultural and commercial
province, near China’s eastern seaboard,
of around 3,200 people. The Group
Sunny Heights development of more
history. We are also determined to build
but we have operations worldwide. In
integrates planning and design,
than 300 homes in Orewa.
a flagship example for living in this
conjunction with local governments and
investment, real estate development,
corporations, we are involved in large
construction, civil construction and
recognised the Manukau site’s untapped
engineering and construction projects in
construction material manufacturing
potential. Its location, proximity to
Israel, Guinea, Mongolia, Korea, Japan,
in China and around the world. We
Manukau City Centre and community
the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
even have our own Design Architecture
assets like the Botanic Gardens and
Education Institute and our own
Vector Wero Whitewater Park, access
building industrial park in Weifang.
to public transport, rail and the airport,
We have been in New Zealand for four years now and our office is located
Once in Auckland, we quickly
up-and-coming region. pacificgardens.co.nz
ANT HONY FLANNE RY
South talked to Anthony Flannery, the Urban Designer and Strategic Planner behind Pacific Gardens â€” Manukauâ€™s newest neighbourhood.
Westfield Manukau offers entertainment for the whole family
Pacific Gardens will be built over the next five to seven years, eventually housing around 3,000 people.
Urban design, done well, is a powerful tool for turning a large development from a collection of buildings into a thriving ecosystem of people and place.
What is urban design?
the masterplan and begin crafting a nar-
architects to incorporate special features
rative for Pacific Gardens before it’s built.
like landmarks, so people can tell stories
What is unique about Pacific Gardens
about how to get around. Really, what
from an urban design point of view?
I’m trying to create is a memorable place
It is a comprehensive mixed-use develop-
that people will tell stories about.
ment connected through ribbons and
Circulation and movement within
oases of green. It will have big houses,
the development is important. There are
small houses, townhouses, terraces
lots of different ways of getting around,
and apartments, offering a wide range
including streets, laneways, footpaths,
of housing types for a broad variety of
shared spaces and green corridors —
residents, including old people, young
all of which have been designed with
people and families. Non-residential
high standards of pedestrian amenity.
representatives and decision-makers
development includes hotels, restaurants
Urban design is, essentially, the art of
from council, education and the DHB;
and bars, as well as civic and community
of architecture firms, because we don’t
creating memorable places — and the
property development experts; architects,
facilities. Developments of this scale
want one company doing everything.
thing about memorable places is that
landscape architects and ecologists;
are rare in New Zealand, but they will
In all, there will be around four or five
they’re the same as memorable people.
students, and; other potential future
become more commonplace as our cities
different architect firms with whom we
We use the same words to describe them:
grow denser. We are designing ideal
will build a shared learning journey.
colourful, dynamic, exciting, interesting. We assign both physical and
It was like making a map. We said, ’Who are the people that might be
emotional characteristics to define what
involved in this? Who might buy
we like and don’t like. We understand
property? Who might play here? Who
a place the same way we understand
might fund it? Who is the key stakeholder
a person. That’s a very human response,
next door? Who are our neighbours?’
yet district plans attempt to separate
It gave us a lens on the culture and social
architecture of the place.
How have urban design principles
We're working with a number
" The key to the success of Pacific Gardens is the ability to build connection and community.
We use a concept called ‘meta-
been used to optimise the
story‘. It’s the idea that in every place
liveability of Pacific Gardens?
in the world there exists a live story
The key to the success of Pacific Gardens
of the past, the present and the future,
is the ability to build connection and
and this is encapsulated in the myriad
community. Therefore, the masterplan
of simultaneous conversations that are
has been designed to enhance the
happening in the community at any
accommodation here for all sorts of
We want variety and, at the same time,
experience of engaging with the
one time. We bring in writers to help
people and we will develop it so that
we want something with a coherent
community. How can we create a good
give voice to story and help reveal the
it’s nice and safe and beautiful.
identity: a certain etiquette, a certain
first impression for those seeing Pacific
imagined future vision of the community.
How does architecture fit in with
Gardens for the first time? How can we
We then deconstruct the story and begin
your urban design considerations?
enhance their engagement with the
to reverse-engineer, effectively walking
It’s a big development of over 1,200
lighting designers and engineers will
community as they move around?
culture, a certain energy. Architects, landscape architects,
backwards in time from the future, so
homes which will accommodate about
be expected to contribute to a shared
What’s your process when tackling
that we can work out what we need to
3,000 people. The architecture of each
purpose, and set of beliefs and values.
a project of this scale?
do to make the story come true.
set of houses or apartments will therefore
What they each do will be very different,
need to be memorable so people don’t
but why they do it won’t be. We’re
We ran a workshop with 36 people which
This vision, encapsulated in the
encompassed a wide range of interests,
narration of the community’s ‘meta-story’,
get lost. In the masterplan there are
bringing together a team who share
including: local board members;
effectively sets the stage for us to create
certain places where we’re requiring our
the ‘why‘, if that makes sense.
SO U T H B R O U G H T TO Y O U B Y PA C I F I C G A R D E N S