Harbour profile push

Date: 11/10/2013

The Aucklander

Transforming the Onehunga wharf could unlock the entire Manukau Harbour, Joe Dawson reports on the aspirations of those who would like to see the waterfront opened to the public.  Advocates for the improvement of the Manukau Harbour hope a new study will boost its profile.


The Manukau Harbour Restoration Society is commissioning a $16,200 visitor and recreation study to be done by AUT.

The project is funded by the Manukau Harbour Forum and the society hopes it will help transform the Onehunga wharf into a bustling, public area.

Spokeswoman Bronwen Turner says the wharf is a strategic asset critical for making the harbour more accessible and has huge untapped potential for public and commercial use.

The Ports of Auckland-owned wharf is closed to the public.

Holcim cement uses one end and shipping containers are stored around the site.

Ms Turner says the wharf is "poorly used and maintained" and needs to be taken in a new, community-inclusive direction.

She sees it becoming a transport hub linking the Franklin area with Auckland, a busy fishing port complete with fish market and cafes, and an access point for recreational boaties.

"We think it is time for the use to evolve," she says. "There's just so much stuff that could happen on this wharf."

Looking to history could point the best way forward. The Manukau Harbour used to be Auckland's major portal and was once a busy waterway.

"There was all of this activity going on on the harbour, ferries going everywhere and up until the ‘50s there was a ferry service to Waiuku.

"So we're at the point of almost going backwards. This is the sort of model we want to go to with, more community-based activities coming out of this wharf - ferry services, charter boats, water taxis. It unlocks the whole harbour."

The Manukau Harbour Forum has supported the idea through its Unitary Plan submissions.

It says open space, public access and reserve linkages should be at the forefront of decisions about growth on the harbour.

The campaign is also supported by the Onehunga Business Association.

Manager Amanda Kinzett says there is support "all around the harbour" for change.

"There is so much that can be done. We're not saying it can't be a commercial operation but like anything you can have a combination."

She says they will "keep on pushing this conversation".

"It's important, it's our asset and it needs to bring value to the community.

"We're finding ways it can do that."

Ports of Auckland infrastructure and property manager Alistair Kirk says the company is assessing the future of the port.

"Onehunga Port is a commercial port and we have a commitment to our customers who use it. However we have had discussions with the Manukau Harbour Restoration Society and the Onehunga Business Association and are aware of the community's aspirations for the harbour and port.

"We are currently evaluating long term options and have committed to responding to the stakeholders by the end of this year, once our evaluations are complete," he says.  READ MORE