Monthly Board report September 2016

This is my final report for the second triennium of Auckland Council.  It includes my reflections on the last three years and covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 31 July to 6 September 2016 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, and Chair of the Grants Committee, and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

I have provided a report each month this term. My previous reports are available at

Summary of August highlights

 Unitary Plan passed

 The Governing Body of Auckland Council passed the Auckland Unitary Plan (UP) on 15 Auckland following a mammoth five-year process to unify all former regional and district council plans into one.  I sat in on several days of the decision making to hear the debate and support, with reservations, the passing of a unified planning rulebook for Auckland. The Board, particularly through the work and leadership of our Chair, Shale Chambers has been actively involved right from day one. There is a lot to reflect on with the community about the process and final decisions on the Independent Hearings Panel recommendations.

It is a significant milestone but there are still big question marks over whether the UP achieves affordable housing, heritage protection, density done well and quality design.  There is a lot of work to be done to now deliver on the promise and potential of a unified plan that responds appropriately to inevitable future growth and delivers on the Auckland Plan.  

Renaming lower Khartoum Place

Khartoum Place July 2016Following consultation on the renaming of lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ the Board voted in July to adopt a bi-lingual name. After receiving further information about the suitability of a bi-lingual name and following a meeting between board representatives, Ngati Whatua and National Council of Women the Board held an extraordinary meeting on 30 August to confirm the new name as Te Hā o Hine Place.

I look forward to Suffrage Day on 19 September when we will be celebrating the new name and acknowledging all those who have contributed to the process and the claiming of a small space for women in the city centre.    

Auckland Council media release

1 September 2016

Te Hā o Hine Place at home in the city centre

At a special meeting this week, the Waitematā Local Board voted to change the name of the lower section of Khartoum Place, to acknowledge the location of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993, ‘Women Achieve the Vote’.

On Suffrage Day 2016, September 19, Waitematā Local Board and iwi partners will unveil the new name for the lower section of Khartoum Place; Te Hā o Hine Place, in recognition of the struggle New Zealand Suffragists faced until 1893.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gifted the name ‘Te Hā o Hine’ which is derived from the whakatauki (proverb) ‘Me aro koe ki te Hā o Hine-ahu-one’ and translates to ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’.  The board felt it was a fitting sentiment as did National Council of Women – Auckland Branch.

Carol Beaumont, President of the National Council of Women – Auckland Branch, says they are pleased that the name Khartoum Place is being replaced with Te Hā o Hine Place, as it is more fitting to the Suffrage Memorial.

Since opening a refreshed Khartoum Place in September 2014, the Waitematā Local Board began looking more seriously at changing the name of the lower section, an area that was being informally referred to as “Suffrage Place” due to the location next to the Suffrage Memorial and the space being used for annual Women’s Day and Suffrage Day events.

In April 2016 the local board consulted  with iwi, the National Council of Women, local businesses, residents and the wider public to ascertain the level of support for a name change and a preference should they support a change.  The majority of submitters supported a name change and for the options for consideration to include; Te Hā o Hine, Suffrage Place and Kate Sheppard Place.

 Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place upgrade underway

 The creation of a community hub for the growing number of city centre residents got closer with the start of the work to renovate and refurbish Ellen Melville Hall.

This is one of the Board’s most significant projects that we initiated last term.  Once completed, the new centre will provide a range of facilities including a new kitchen, Wi-Fi, improved amenities, café-style seating and a modern refurbishment.  It will be a much needed community facility for Auckland’s growing city centre residential population.

The $10.7m project includes the upgrade of Freyberg Place (funded by the City Centre targeted rate).  The upgrades to Freyberg Place and Ellen Melville Centre are expected to be completed by mid-2017. 

Hakanoa Street footpaths and kerbing

Hakanoa Street, Grey Lynn, kerb inspection meetingAuckland Transport’s renewal of kerbing and footpaths on Hakanoa Street has been an on-going saga.   In August I attended several meetings with residents to resolve the issues related to the removal of bluestone kerbing (replaced in unacceptably large areas with faux concrete kerbing) and poor workmanship including new footpaths on the northern side that led to flooding.  The photo right shows residents inspecting a trial of concrete to mimic bluestone (once complete only the area between the cones will be in concrete)

In the latest update to be communicated to all residents Auckland Transport has confirmed that the areas where faux bluestone are to be constructed in concrete are being marked in white paint once each tree site has been investigated to determine the extent where real bluestone kerbs can be installed. AT has committed to re-instating as much bluestone as possible. The northern side footpath/vehicle crossing levels will be remediated to ensure road reserve stormwater is contained.  

Auckland Transport’s approach to this renewal has highlighted the need to provide the local board with plans and consult with residents in advance.  I am also following up on the need for a longer term tree management strategy.

weona-planting-day-july-2016-stephenWeona Westmere Walkway community planting day

The project to complete a 1.4km long coastal walkway on council reserve land and the coastal marine area in Westmere got underway last term after years of community campaigning.

It was great to take part in a community planting day to see how far the walkway has progressed around a beautiful but neglected stretch of coastline. Hopefully the walkway will be open by the end of September for everyone to enjoy.



Pippa Coom and Christopher Dempsey on the Lightpath I’ve worked on the transport portfolio with Christopher Dempsey over the last six years.  It has been exciting to see the positive progress being made to improve transport choices in Auckland.  Over the last three years the board has achieved or played a role in achieving for transport:  

  • Start of the City Rail Link (a legacy Mayor Brown can be very proud about)
  • Funded a Parnell Station connection to Nicholls Lane to support opening of the station
  • Progress on the Harbour Bridge pathway SkyPath
  • Increased funding for cycleways that has led to the completion of the Te ara i whiti /Lightpath, Nelson St cycleway, Quay St cycleway, Westhaven promenade and a central programme of cycleways
  • Progressed the Grey Lynn Greenways route
  • Worked with Auckland Transport on the Ponsonby Road pedestrian experience project
  • Secured the upgrade of Franklin Road with undergrounding of power lines, stormwater separation,  new footpaths, road surfacing, pedestrian crossing and cycle lanes
  • Implementation of the Freemans Bay Residential Parking Zone (now scheduled for 2 October) and parking zones in all central city suburbs
  • Successfully advocated for improved pedestrian safety such as walking improvements at the Grey Lynn shops and in the city centre.
  • Ensured Auckland Transport leveraged maintenance budgets to provide safety improvements for all road users such cycle feeder lanes and stop boxes on Ponsonby Road as part of a resurfacing project
  • Successfully advocated for the removal of parking minimums from the Unitary Plan
  • Advocated for improved local bus services as part of the New Network to be rolled out in 2017
  • Successfully advocated for the inclusion of a new outcome in the City Centre Masterplan:  A walkable and pedestrian- friendly city centre, moving towards zero pedestrian deaths or serious injuries as a result of vehicle collisions.
  • Initiated a street tree planting policy and identified locations for new street trees (including three new tree pits on Williamson Ave as part of the Countdown development)
  • Installed three on street drinking stations

We’ve also provided input into a range of Regional transport policies.

There is still a lot to be done to reduce congestion and carbon emissions, and provide safe, connected, accessible transport choices in Waitematā.  Next term I hope to progress: slower speeds in the city centre and on residential streets, implementation of vision zero, opening up of greenways routes (including opening up the old Parnell Rail tunnel), changes to the give way rule, roll out of improved wayfinding, acceleration of the cycleways programme and residential parking schemes, driver education regarding vulnerable road users, ending dangerous car transporter practices on Great North Road and further work to improve the walking experience in Waitemata.


Deborah YatesAs portfolio holder with Deborah Yates, we cover community facilities, libraries and initiatives aimed at building community wellbeing capacity, leadership and skills.   Some of what has been achieved for the community over the last three years includes:

  • Increased community funding to $125,000 per year for grants to community and sports groups  (distributing funds through the Community Grants Committee)
  • Established an accommodation grant fund
  • Funded the Inner City Network and Inner City Neighbours Day event
  • In January 2015 registered the Waitematā Local Board with UNICEF as the first local board to be working toward “child friendly” accreditation.
  • Funded Child Friendly Cities initiatives such as Think Big – the creation of a consultation website for children
  • Supported a Community-led design process for the development 254 Ponsonby Road with open space
  • Provided funding support for Kelmarna Gardens and a community garden coordinator
  • Extended library hours
  • Continued to implement the Accessibility Plan and undertaken a review
  • Agreed funding and work programmes for our three community centres.
  • Provided additional funding to support growing participation at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • Provided support to the Waitematā Youth Collective involvement in events, activities, steering groups and projects

One of the areas of ongoing concern has been the increasing numbers of rough sleepers in the city centre.  We have supported the Homelessness Action Plan initiatives currently underway but going into next term a great deal of further work is needed to make an impact.

There is also more to do to develop partnership approaches with mana whenua, improve the health of our communities such as extended smoke free areas, improve safety and increase engagement and participation especially by inner city residents.

I am sad that both of my co-portfolio holders Deborah Yates and Christopher Dempsey have decided to retire from local government.  They have made a huge contribution and I have really appreciated working with them.

In the online version of my report at I have included photos of Deborah and Christopher in action. Photos of board members are not allowed in reports during the election period (There will of course be a photo of me and Christopher on our bikes – the most enjoyable and fun way to get around Waitematā as a board member!)

Waitematā Local Board 2013 – 2016

Waitemata Local Board 2013 -2016It has been a privilege to serve on the Waitematā Local Board for two terms as Deputy Chair.  After the hard work in the first term to make the new super city structure work effectively for local decision making, I was grateful to be elected for a second time to continue the many projects underway with an ongoing commitment by the Board to strong community engagement.

There is still a lot to do to ensure Council is listening and responsive to local aspirations and that the governance framework is fit for purpose. There are parts of the organisational structure and culture that still need further refinement to properly support the role of local boards.  The Auckland Transport relationship with local achievements-report-2016boards is particularly problematic and only a complete overhaul of the leadership is likely to result in any meaningful improvement.

This term has been immensely rewarding and at times lots of fun too. The Board’s annual achievements reports available on the Council website highlight just how much has happened over the term (Link to the 2015/2016 Achievement Report). We are fortunate to be supported by an outstanding, hardworking local board team.

The rewards are great for board members able to put the time into the role.  I’ve appreciated the many learning opportunities and the amazing speakers that take part in the Auckland Conversations series.   It has also been an opportunity to meet a wonderfully diverse range of people, to get involved with our many community groups (particularly through our community grant funding) and to take part in the many events on offer in the Waitematā area.

There is still much to do. I hope to be part of a progressive Local Board next term that will continue to deliver for everyone who lives, works, plays and visits Waitematā.

Workshops and meetings

From 31 July until 6 September 2016 I attended:

  • Local Board Members briefing on greenways identity on 1 August
  • Hakanoa road works meeting with local residents on 1 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 2 August
  • Independent Hearings Panel recommendations: Briefing session for local board members
  • Meeting to discuss renaming of Khartoum Place with Ngati Whatua Orakei, National Council for Woman and representatives of the Waitematā Local Board.
  • Community Portfolio additional meeting – Grey Lynn Community Centre funding increase
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 9 August at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • Meeting to discuss a proposal for an Inner City Community Garden on Griffith Building Site (temporary site as a result of the CRL works on the corner of Albert Street and Wellesley Street)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 11 August
  • Attended the Unitary Plan debate at the Governing Body meetings on 11 and 12 August
  • Meeting with GLBA and Auckland Transport to discuss parking impacts of Richmond Road cyclelane project
  • Workshop on 15 August on opportunities for Community-led development support and development with Ākina and Inspiring Communities (at the invitation of Denise Bijoux )
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 16 August
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 17 August
  • Franklin Road Improvement Project Community Liaison Group Meeting on 17 August
  • Hakanoa St Trial Mimic Kerb Inspection on 22 August (see details above)
  • CRL update  for Waitemata and Albert Eden Boards Chairs and portfolio holders on 22 August
  • Meeting to discuss Greenways branding on 23 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 23 August
  • Communications update on 23 August
  • Meeting on 23 August of the community portfolio and inner city residents to discuss action on homelessness and use of the Civic Administration building as a night shelter
  • Meeting to discuss the Board’s feedback on the Maori Language Policy and implementation plan
  • Community portfolio meeting on 24 August
  • Inner City Network meeting and lunch hosted by Splice on 25 August. Presentation: social impact of intensification of housing
  • Ponsonby Community Centre committee meeting on 29 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 30 August
  • Waitemata Local Board Extraordinary Meeting for Renaming of Khartoum Place on 30 August
  • Meeting with Hakanoa residents at the Grey  Lynn Community Centre on 31 August to discuss kerb and channel work
  • Meeting on 31 August  of the Elected Member Political Advisory Group to discuss induction planned for new term
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 6 September
  • Newmarket Laneways meeting:  feedback from Public Consultation and approval of Final Concept Design
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee meeting on 8 September

Events and functions

From 31 July until 9 September I attended:

  • west-end-tennis-club roomOpening the Club House – West End Lawn Tennis Club on Sunday 31 July (photo right)
  • Backbenchers Auckland edition at the Britomart Social Club on 3 August
  • First Thursdays on K’rd on 4 August
  • Wynyard Quarter 5th birthday on 6 August
  • Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks  at  Storage King on 10 August
  • Blessing for the start of works at the Ellen Mellville Centre and Freyberg Square
  • OperaNesia on O’Connell Street on 11 August
  • Opening of the new Grey Lynn Fire Station on Williamson Ave on 12 August
  • Volunteer planting day on the  Weona Walkway, Westmere
  • Franklin Road Community BBQ hosted by Auckland Transport for the start of works on 14 August
  • Venus in Fur at the Herald Theatre at the invitation of the Auckland Theatre Company
  • bishop-selwyn-chapel-opening-dean-jo-kelly-moore-mike-leeDedication and official opening of the Bishop Selwyn Chapel on 21 August (photo right)
  • K’rd presents catwalk show at NZ Fashion Week at the invitation of the K’rd Business Association on 23 August
  • St Columba’s fundraising Potter’s market on 29 August
  • Campaign for Better Transport’s Rail to the Airport public meeting in Onehunga on 30 August
  • Bike Breakfast at Scarecrow on 1 September
  • Random Act of Kindness Day hosted by Splice
  • Rod Oram’s book launch at AUT: Three Cities – Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene
  • Living Wage Assembly at St Matthews for Mayor candidates and Waitematā & Gulf Ward Candidates
  • Q Theatre 5th Birthday celebration at the invitation of Q Theatre on 2 September
  • Merchant Navy remembrance service at the Maritime Museum on 3 September
  • Fukuoka Day at the Town Hall on 3 September
  • LATE at the Museum from #Slackivism to Activism panel discussion on 5 September
  • Boys will be Boys at Q Theatre on 9 September at the invitation of Silo Theatre

Monthly Board report July 2016

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 1 June to 10 July 2016 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, and Chair of the Grants Committee, and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

I was also acting chair for the week of 27 June when I attended the Local Chair’s Forum and the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting.


City Rail Link Ground breaking

 On Thursday 2 June Mayor Len Brown, Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy, Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges officially marked the start of the construction for the City Rail Link.  It was an explosive ground breaking event with special cupcakes and a fantastic flash mob dance sequence involving many of the CRL workers. More importantly it was an opportunity to acknowledge Mayor Len’s role (and the many people who supported him such as Cr Mike Lee) in pushing ahead with this vital transport project that has been 93 years in the making.

Support for Auckland Transport to develop a Street Tree Planting Policy

Franklin Road street treesMy notice of motion requesting Auckland Transport to develop a street tree planting policy was unanimously passed by the Waitematā Local Board at our June business meeting.

MOVED by Deputy Chairperson PJ Coom, seconded by Member CP Dempsey

That the Waitematā Local Board:

i) notes the benefits of urban street trees and the Auckland Plan, City Centre Master Plan and Waitematā Local Board Plan 2014 commitment to plant street trees;

ii) requests Auckland Transport in association with Auckland Council Parks develop:

a) A street tree planting policy; and

b) A strategy to meet the City Centre Masterplan street tree target of a 25% increase by 2021;

iii) requests Auckland Transport allocate budget (capex and opex) for funding new street trees as part of streetscape projects and footpath renewals;

iv) requests that this Notice of Motion is circulated to all Local Boards, the Parks, Recreation and Sports Committee, Auckland Development Committee, Auckland Transport Board and Chief Executive and Auckland Council Policy and Bylaws team

Hakanoa Street, Grey Lynn kerbingHakanoa Street footpaths and kerbing

I’ve been following up on the concerns residents have raised about the kerb and channelling work currently underway by Auckland Transport’s contractors that involves removing the blue stone kerbing.

Auckland Transport has responded that:

the kerbs are being removed in places due to the disruptions of the tree roots, the tree roots are then unable to be cover over (as per the arborists direction)  therefore AT is unable to replace like for like and has to put in concrete and pointing of which is coloured, this does give a piece meal effect/look but as we are not able to replace with any kerb type i.e. (blue stone ) our hands are tied

 The only way to replace blue stone kerbing over tree roots is by putting in a bigger lintel over the roots, unfortunately the arborists has said we are not allow to do so in some places where the kerb is not replaced and there appears to be no trees, this is because there is 3 applications from residents for vehicle crossings

 Due to the nature of the tree roots AT accepts that we will have on going issues with this street and will return regularly to try to fix

However the road appears to have been widened thereby pushing the kerb closer to the tree roots.  There appears to be a mismatch of concrete and blue stone in big sections between trees not just around the trunk of the tree (as in the photo above). Large areas of blue stone kerbing stones appear to have disappeared without justification when similar streets have retained the traditional kerbing as part of an upgrade (eg Selbourne Street).  The works have also resulted in damage to house frontages.  I will continue to work on this with the residents until we receive a satisfactory response from Auckland Transport.

5. Hakanoa Reserve entrance from Hakanoa StA further issue I am following up is the continuation of the kerbing work despite plans for on road greenway works at the exit of Hakanoa Reserve (photo above) and planned pedestrian/cycleway improvements at the intersection with Richmond Road.

Auckland Transport has not explained the duplication of works and the additional costs.

 Renaming lower Khartoum Place

 Consultation on the renaming of lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ ended on 25 May.

From the 137 submissions there was strong support for the name change.  Details of the feedback and a decision making report are on the Board’s agenda this month.   It is looking positive that we will be a position to change the name in time for Suffrage Day in September.

The future of St Columba Church & parish

St Columba church, Grey Lynn I have been following events at St Columba in Grey Lynn and attended two community hui held during June to discuss the future of the parish.

Following financial difficulties last year the Anglican Diocese commissioned a report to consider the options available to the parish.   The report concluded with three redevelopment options that all involved demolishing the church and facilities on the site including the hall, community garden and labyrinth. This led a campaign to save St Columba involving the wider community.

 On 1 July the following statement was issued by the the Anglican Bishops of Auckland and the Vicar of St Columba Grey Lynn.

Conversations are underway to assist the Parish of St Columba Grey Lynn to address some significant challenges that have developed over a long period of time.

 Those challenges are related to finance and the ongoing costs of providing ministry in the community. They include the maintenance of buildings.

 The Bishops and the diocesan leadership are working closely with the Vicar and the people of the Parish to seek a long-term solution.

 The Diocese continues to have a commitment to the community of Grey Lynn. That commitment is being indicated in conversations that included a visit to the parish last weekend. The Diocese and the Parish are grateful for the support of the wider community.

Further conversations are anticipated with no decisions made at this point.

 The Bishops and the Vicar will be able to comment further once there is a decision to announce

Waitematā Local Board Community Grants

 The final Grants Committee was held on June to consider applications to the fourth and final round of the grants fund for 15/16. A total of $38,613.00 was available to distribute. The committee approved grants totally $29,791.00 to a range of community groups and organisations.

 Waipapa stream planting

 Waipapa planting day June 2016 Hugh and LukeAnnual planting day along the banks of the Waipapa Stream in Parnell was attended by Councillor Mike Lee, representatives from the Waitemata Local Board, Parnell Heritage, Parnell Community Committee, and local neighbours. It is great to see the many years of volunteer labour to re-habilitate the stream is paying off.

Mary Stewart, Senior Biosecurity Advisor, who has been coordinating the planting,is looking to work with Parnell Heritage and the Parnell Community Committee to engage with the surrounding residents to encourage best environmental practices nearby.  The stream has greatly improved  but practices continue that threaten the area (such as growing plants that are weeds in the apartments that are dropping into the stream and naturalising, dumping of garden waste, plant tags, pots, trimmings, old plants, dumping of rubbish and liquids (killing off plants) using driveway cleaners that kill trees).

 Ponsonby Road Pedestrian Experience

Lincoln Street side street render In the July Our Auckland Waitematā Local Board members feature in a story regarding the Board funded project to create a safe and consistent pedestrian experience along Ponsonsby Road between Franklin Road and Williamson Ave (the project was consulted on in November 2015). As mentioned in the article the work was meant to have started in June.

Unfortunately Auckland Transport missed the construction deadline for the works on Lincoln and Collingwood Streets in the last financial year and now has a budget shortfall. We are working through the budget details with Auckland Transport and the consultation process to get the feedback on intersection furniture layouts, materials, and street furniture.

It is now expected that the construction will start late August/early September 2016.

 Berm planting guidelines

 The mystery of Auckland Transport’s berm planting guidelines continues. I’ve given regular updates in my report regarding progress on guidelines that were promised by Easter.

A resident was recently advised the following after she complained about the destruction of her berm garden.

In Central, we mow all berms if they exceed or are approaching a height of 200mm. Our mowing operators work in tandem, with the bulk of the berm mown with a ride-on mower, and then followed up shortly afterwards with weed-eaters to remove encroaching grasses from the edge of footpaths and the kerbside, and around trees and poles which the ride-on mowers cannot reach.  Given the large number of berms to be mown across the city this actually provides better value for ratepayers than the stop-start method of one operator undertaking both activities.

Auckland Transport offered to put her on a no mow register which defeated the point as she had only grown a berm garden after being told she was responsible for it as she wasn’t physically able to mow the verge herself. The resident is now happy for AT to mow her berm again.

Quay Street cyclewayQuay Street Cycleway

On Friday 8 July the Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Len Brown officially opened the Quay St protected cycleway on Auckland’s busiest cycle route.

At the time of writing my report the cycleway was still closed but attracting large numbers on a sunny weekend.  With the Quay Street Cycleway another gap is connected in the central city cycle network.

 Auckland Conversations : The future of housing in Auckland

Furture of housing in AucklandPanel discussion hosted by Bernard Hickey.

 With Auckland growing at a rate of 896 people a week how can everyone be guaranteed a home, either to buy or rent? Auckland clearly needs new housing options so the economic benefits of growth can be shared by all as we establish our place among the world’s most successful cities.

An excellent discussion about the current Auckland Housing crisis and what is needed to fix it. One big take away pushed by Bernard Hickey  is that young people need to vote in the Local Government Election in September.

The full discussion can be viewed on you tube

Workshops and meetings

Ponsonby Residential parking zone consultationFrom 1 June until 10 July 2016 I attended:

  • Public Open Day hosted by Auckland Transport on the Ponsonby Residential Parking Zone at the Ponsonby Community Centre 1 June
  • Wellesley St/Learning Quarter Interim Business Case Workshop #1 on 3 June
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 7 June
  • Auckland Transport hui on the Ponsonby Road Pedestrian Experience on 8 June
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 9 June
  • Attended the last session of the Little Grocer Environment Court hearing on 9 June
  • Kai a te rangatira – Elected Members breakfast sessions with Dr Ella Henry on 13 June
  • Central Community Recycling Facility Meeting on 14 June with Albert- Eden and Puketapapa Local Boards re Next Phase of design and provision of service
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 14 June at the board office  on 14 June
  • Engagement Framework meeting with the Board’s engagement adviser
  • Auckland Development Committee joint workshop with Local Board members on 15 June
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 15 June
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 16 June
  • Community portfolio visit to the Plunket rooms in Parnell
  • St Columba church community hui on 19 June
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 21 June
  • Community portfolio meeting on 22 June
  • Waitemata Local Board Community Grants committee meeting on 22 June
  • Meeting  on 23 June to discuss the Achievements Report
  • Inner City Network meeting and presentation on the work of the CAB on 23 June
  • Catch up with Michael Richardson, GM K’rd business association on 24 June
  • Spray free community meeting hosted by Deborah Yates at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 26 June
  • Community meeting with Assistant Bishop Jim White on 26 June to discuss the future of St Columba Church
  • Local Board Chairs Forum meeting on 27 June
  • Ponsonby Community Centre committee meeting on 27 June
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting on 29 June
  • Ports Community Reference Group on 29 June
  • Local Board Briefing – Community Centre Levels of Service Review  (Central Local Boards) on 30 June
  • Newton and Eden-Terrace Plan –Hui on 30 June
  • Changing Minds Community Housing Forum on 1 July at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 5 July
  • Franklin Road Improvement Project community liaison meeting hosting by Auckland Transport on 5 July

Refugee Forum AUTEvents and functions

From 1 June until 10 July 2016 I attended:

  • The Refugee Experience  – Storytelling through visual displays at AUT 1 June (photo right)
  • Countdown Supermarket Williamson Ave opening on 2 June
  • Bike Breakfast at Scarecrow on 2 June
  • City Rail Link ground-breaking on 2 June
  • Spray Free community meeting on 2 June
  • Auckland Transport’s cycling open day at La Cigale market on 4 June
  • Alex clothes swapWaitemata Youth Collective Clothes swap a the Central Library (photo of Alex Johnston at the Clothes Swap)
  • Queen’s Birthday celebrations at the Cloud on 4 June
  • Waipapa Stream planting day on 11 June
  • Auckland Theatre Company’s That Bloody Woman at Sky City Threatre (at the invitation of ATC) on 11 June
  • Auckland Transport’s Bike Market at the Cloud on 12 June
  • Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks at the Malt Public House on 14 June
  • Newmarket Business Awards dinner at the Auckland War memorial museum on 17 July (at the invitation of NBA)
  • Feijoa guild Mik SmellieOtago Law Alumni breakfast at the Northern Club on 21 June
  • Feijoa Festival hosted by Splice at Chuffed Café on 22 June (Photo right: Guild of the Feijoa’s, Mik Smellie )
  • Auckland Conversations on 23 June The Future of Housing in Auckland
  • NZ Maritime Museum – Twin Exhibition Opening on 24 June
  • General Collective Market at Ponsonby Central on 25 June
  • The Minnie Street Community Day on 25 June
  • Cycle Action Network webinar presenter How to influence decision makers (together with Trevor Mallard and David Lee, Wellington City Councillor)
  • Selywn VercoeThe Seven Stars of Matariki exhibition curated by Selwyn Vercoe at Studio One Toi Tu (photo right)
  • Auckland Speaks: Multi media performance event at Adult Education Inc
  • World Press Photo exhibition opening at Smith & Caughey on 1 July
  • Plastic Free July, Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away group at Farro Fresh
  • Pecha Kucha: Special edition Auckland on the move at the Hopetoun Alpha on 5 July
  • Auckland Conversations 6 July
  • Attendance at the 2 Walk and Cycle Conference 6 – 8 July at the Rendevous Hotel (funded from the Local Board’s professional development budget). I will be reporting back on the conference in my August report
  • Vision Zero workshop presenter at the 2 Walk and Cycle Conference (together with Caroline Perry, Brake NZ, Patrick Morgan, Cycle Action Network and Abby Granbery, MR Cagney)
  • Opening of the Quay Street Cycleway by the Minister Simon Bridges on 8 July
  • Grey Lynn Park Greenways opening on Saturday 9 July
  • Te Wananga o Aotearoa Kapa Haka Super 12s at the Cloud
  • 30th anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform at the Auckland Town Hall

Bike Market June 2016 NZ Police officer Cole

Monthly board report May 2016

My monthly board report covering activities from 1 April until 1 May 2016. Included on the agenda for the Waitemata Local Board meeting on 10 May 2016.


Annual budget 2016/17

An extraordinary meeting of the Board was held on 26 April to confirm the Board’s position on Local Development Initiatives budgets, our advocacy positions and regional annual plan issues.

Included in the report for the meeting was an overview of 147 submissions received for Waitematā. The board received clear support for the priority projects we wish to take forward in 16/17.  

Franklin Road

Following a community liaison group meeting in early April Auckland Transport released the latest designs for the upgrade of Franklin Road. 

Franklin Road side street treatmentsFeatures include:

  • Improved pavement surface, footpaths and drainage.
  • Protecting tree root zones from vehicles by redefining the berm area.
  • Providing for the safe movement of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
  • Retaining as much street parking as possible.
  • Working with utility providers to minimise disruption and deliver an integrated programme of works.
  • Improving street lighting – suspended lighting is currently proposed

franklin-road-artist-impression Franklin RoadI am particularly pleased to see included in the design raised tables on all the side streets. This is a pedestrian safety outcome the Local Board has advocated for since the beginning of the project.

A final round of engagement was undertaken on the detailed design by Auckland Transport until 10 May. Stage 1 (utility upgrade) physical works is due to start in May. Stage 2 works will start in October/November. The current completion date is mid to late 2017

Renaming lower Khartoum Place

 In December 2015 I brought a Notice of Motion to the Board proposing the renaming of lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’.

The proposal received Board support opening the way for a name changing process to commence.  Consultation on naming options is taking place until 25 May.

Path widening in Grey Lynn park for the new Greenways route
Path widening in Grey Lynn park for the new Greenways route

Greenways Design Guide

Work is underway on a design guide which covers both on-street and parks and open space greenways that is intended to become the key resource for the implementation of greenways across Auckland.

The feedback I collated in Attachment A was provided on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board to the Greenways team. 

Photo right: progress on the widening of the Greenways route through Grey Lynn Park

Signage trial

Wayfinding trial at Wynyard As part of a Regional signage project Auckland Transport is trialling various signage elements in four precincts. Signage being trialled includes street signs, pedestrian signs, information hubs (large and small), cycling signs and routes, and public transport signage.

It is good to see the trial at Wynyard Quarter with signage designed for tourists and locals to be able to navigate around central Auckland attractions. There are lots of positive features included including te reo Maori.  However as the Transport portfolio has previously highlighting we still consider the background colour is too dark, the map is not useful without showing where it fits into a wider area and the descriptions are too subjective.  The map also shows Wellesley Street as a walking route through to the Domain – a long standing issue we have raised with ATEED and Auckland Transport. 

Feedback is open until 20 May 2016

 Weona Westmere walkwayWeona – Westmere Walkway

 Phase one of the Weona –Westmere walkway is now open and phase two is well underway. It is now possible to take a scenic walk along coast line that has not been accessible for over 80 years. After visiting on beautiful day in April I felt very proud that the Board (with Shale leading the way) has stuck with this project for the last 5 years.  I think locals and visitors will be very impressed when the 1.4km route is fully opened in September.

Mt Eden car freeMaungawhau/Mt Eden is glorious to visit now the maunga is free of vehicles 

Mt Eden is not in Waitematā but I give thanks to all those who worked so hard over the last 10 years to get cars off the summit. On a recent visit at sunset it was great to see how many people were enjoying the easy walk to the top.

Berm planting guidelines

 The Board gave feedback on Auckland Transport’s draft guidelines in September last year. We are still waiting on the final draft that was Firth Road berm May 2016promised before Easter.

In the meantime I am enjoying all the neighbourly interactions that occur whenever I am outside looking after my (non-complying) berm. 

Parking – the good, the bad and the ugly

 I have been following up on a number of parking issues and concerns outlined in Attachment B.

Auckland Conversations – The value of well designed cities

Auckland Conversation JoeJoe Minicozzi, Principal of Urban3  presented, in a very entertaining way, the research that illustrates the benefits of urban density, heritage conservation and mixed-use developments. These have an economic impact that lead to creating sustainable and vibrant cities. 

The image right shows the maths of land value plus improved value (CV)  applied to Auckland (by Kent Lamberg from MR Cagney). 

Workshops and meetings

From 1 April until 1 May  2016 I attended:

  • Ponsonby Community Centre Board meeting on 4 April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 5 April
  • Communications catch up on 5 April
  • Franklin Road Community Liaison Meeting on 5 April
  • Ponsonby Road paid parking zone consultation open day at Studio One on 6 April
  • Parks portfolio meeting on 7 April
  • Elected member professional development focus group meeting on 8 April
  • Albert Park safety meeting on 8 April organised by Hon Nikki Kaye with Superintendent Richard Chambers, Inspector Jill Rogers, Area Commander for Auckland City Central and Gary Davy from the Police, Naisi Chen (Chinese NZ Students Association) and Will Matthews (President AUSA) and Auckland Council representatives
  • Youth Voice Phase 2 Cluster Workshops on 9 April at Auckland Central Library  to explore youth-led models options under an empowered communities approach
  • Richmond Rovers strategic plan community meeting on 11 April
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 12 April in Parnell
  • Waitematā Local Board hui with iwi regarding Khartoum Place name change
  • Elected member development programme – political advisory group meeting on 13 April
  • Stakeholder meeting regarding the Khartoum Place name change on 13 April
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 14  April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 14 April
  • Wynyard Quarter neighbours forum on 19 April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 19 April
  • Ponsonby Business Association meeting for PBA members with Auckland Transport’s parking team on 19 April
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 20 April
  • Meeting to discuss the Board’s transport advocacy positions on 21 April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 26 April
  • Presentation from Fresh Concept on Lower Queen St Activation Plans
  • Waitematā Local Board Extraordinary Meeting on 26 April – Annual Budget information
  • Auckland Transport open day on the wayfinding signage trial at Wynyard Quarter
  • Community portfolio meeting on 27 April
  • Inner City Network meeting and presentation on accessibility

Events and functions

From 1 April until 1 May 2016 I attended:

  • Francis Reserve Womens centre community garden Board and Leonie Auckland Theatre Company’s You can always hand them back at Sky Theatre on 2 April (at the invitation of ATC)
  • Bike breakfast at Scarecrow café on 6 April
  • Auckland Conversations on 7 April
  • Opening of the SKIP/ Women’s Centre Francis Reserve (photo right) community garden on 9 April
  • Jam on Toast at the Grey Lynn Community Centre 10 April
  • Japan Day at the Cloud opening reception on 10 April
  • Kokako turns 15 celebratory event on 15 April
  • Welcome morning tea for the new general manager of the K’rd Business Association on 15 April
  • Farewell to Charlotte from Splice on 15 April
  • Between Tides at Westmere beach on 17 April
  • Anzac day service hosted by the Grey Lynn RSC
  • Open Streets K’rd on 1 May (photo below with Margaret Lewis from the K’rd Business Assocation and Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s walking and cycling manager who hosted the event). Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on such a fantastic event. K’rd was full of people enjoying the vehicle – free space.


Proposal to rename lower Khartoum Place

Notice of Motion to rename lower Khartoum Place

In accordance with Standing Orders, please place the following Notice of Motion on the agenda for the Waitematā Local Board meeting being held on 8th December 2015:


That the Waitematā Local Board requests the Resource Consenting and Compliance team, in consultation with relevant council departments, report options for re-naming lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ to a local board business meeting for its consideration in time for the renaming to occur by Suffrage Day 2016.


The Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ (the memorial) is located in Khartoum Place, and honours the Auckland women who worked towards the goal of women’s suffrage. The memorial is made of over 2000 brightly coloured tiles and was designed by artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison. It was erected in 1993 with financial assistance from the Suffrage Centennial Year Trust and the then Auckland City Council. The suffragists depicted in the memorial are  Amey Daldy, Anne Ward, Lizzie Frost, Matilda Allsopp, Elisabeth Yates, Annie Jane Schnackenberg, Fanny Brown, and Ida Wells.

Following a campaign to retain the memorial, in 2011 Auckland Council voted to protect the memorial in Khartoum Place in perpetuity. In the draft Unitary Plan the memorial is identified as “a historic heritage place”. It is a category B heritage item which has significant heritage values in terms of Social (B) and context (H).

Khartoum Place runs between Kitchener Street and Lorne Street with a stairway connection between the two street levels. Khartoum Place is named after the 1885 siege of Khartoum. Kitchener St is named after Earl Kitchener (24 June 1850 – 5 June 1916) who fought in the Sudan after the battle of Khartoum and became known as “Lord Kitchener of Khartoum.”

In September 2014 Khartoum place was re-opened following a $1.7million upgrade.  Key features of the design are a new staircase that opens up a direct line of sight between Lorne Street and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki and the retention of the suffrage memorial.

In my address at the reopening I commented that Looking around now at how beautiful Khartoum place looks with the memorial at its heart I think all that is needed now is for this space to be named not after an imperial battle that New Zealand actually refused to take part in but in the future I look forward to it being named Suffrage Place or Kate Sheppard Place”.

The proposal to rename lower Khartoum Place has the support of the National Council of Women NZ Auckland Branch and Councillor Cathy Casey.  The NCWNZ Auckland branch resolved unanimously at its November 2015 meeting to support the renaming of lower Khartoum Place to Suffrage Place with the upper level to remain as Khartoum Place.

Renaming lower Khartoum Place will not only provide a fitting tribute to the location of the suffrage memorial but will also end the confusion between the two distinct levels of Khartoum Place (that are known informally as Lower and Upper). From a google maps search there does not appear to be any roads etc in New Zealand named specially after women’s suffrage.

The retention of the upper level as Khartoum Place maintains the historical connection to Kitchener Street. There does not appear to be a historical connection between the naming of Lorne St and lower Khartoum Place.

Local Boards have been allocated decision making responsibility for the naming of local roads pursuant to section 319(1)(j) of the Local Government Act 1974.

Khartoum Place is categorised as a local road. The renaming will need to be carried out in accordance with the Road Naming Guidelines (April 2015) including appropriate consultation.

Khartoum place with Art Gallery


Monthly Board Report October 2014

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during September 2014 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee.


  • Opening of Grafton Gully and Beach Road cycleways
  • Re-opening of Khartoum Place with a new staircase to the Auckland Art Gallery from Lorne Street after a long battle to retain the Suffrage Centenary Memorial in the square
  • Progress on a programme to activate Pioneer Women’s Hall
  • Local Board Plan hearings

I also enjoyed a short break in the South Island during September.

Portfolio reports:  Transport

Members of the Waitemata Local Board with Mayor Len Brown
Members of the Waitemata Local Board with Mayor Len Brown

Grafton Gully cycleway opening

Report on the opening of the Grafton Gully cycleway ATTACHMENT A

Waitematā Local Board members Shale Chambers, Vernon Tava, Christopher Dempsey, and Pippa Coom with the Mayor at the opening of the Grafton Gully Cycleway

Monthly transport update

A monthly update with Auckland Transport took place on 25 September. Current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Portfolio reports:  Community

Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Memorial Hall – activation

One of the Board’s priorities is developing Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Memorial Hall as a community hub for city centre residents. Fortunately the refurbishment budget for the hall was removed from the proposed list of deferrals and has been funded with $400,000 for 2015/16 to proceed in alignments with the targeted rate-funded renovation of Freyberg Square.

In the meantime the community portfolio is working with officers to activate the hall using a $15,000 community development budget available for 2014/15.  Really good progress has recently been made on proposals initiated by a stakeholder working group including setting up a Facebook page for the hall and a programme of activities such as Tai Chi, a chess club, and Rainbow Youth pop in centre.

Local Board Plan

The Board received 213 submissions on our draft local board plan with the majority of submitters endorsing the general direction and priorities of the Board. At hearings held over 2 days we heard from 33 submitters.

A report on the feedback was presented at the Board’s extraordinary meeting on 16 September and is available on the Council website.

A final version of the Local Board Plan is on the Board’s agenda this month.

Community Funding

The Central Joint Funding Committee was re-established on 8 September (I was re-elected Deputy Chair) to decide on applications to the Community Group Assistance Fund (round 1 of 2 rounds) and the Accommodation Support Fund 14/15. These are both legacy grants that will be disestablished when the new funding policy is implemented.

The decision of the committee is available on the Council website here.

Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 September – 30 September I attended:

  • Mayoral proposal workshop on 1 September at the Aotea Centre for Councillors, local board members, the Independent Maori Statutory Board and CCO Chairs and Chief Executives to discuss the Mayor’s proposal for the draft Long-term Plan 2015-2025.  Led by the mayor, the workshop considered the proposal and provided opportunity for round table discussion.
  • Engagement adviser catch up on 1 September
  • Meeting to discuss Pioneer Women’s Hall Stakeholder Workshop Outcomes
  • Grey Lynn Business Association meeting on the signage bylaws
  • Local Board Plan Hearings on 2 and 3 September
  • Newmarket level crossing briefing on 3 September
  • City Centre Integration workshop with Councillors regarding QE2 Square and the proposed Downtown Framework on 3 September
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss Cycle Advisory Group prioritisation process on 4 September
  • Central Joint Grants Committee Meeting on 8 September
  • LTP – Parks, Community and Lifestyle response to Mayoral Proposal presentation to local board members at the Town Hall on 8 September
  • City Centre Waterfront Building Height and Form Strategy briefing on 9 September
  • LBP deliberations workshop on 9 September
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on  September 9 September
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting in Grey Lynn on  9 September
  • Meeting with the New Zealand Dance Company, Wellesley St to discuss community funding available
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 11 September
  • Meeting with the developer of 60 Cook Street to discuss plans for the future of Nelson Street
  • Inaugural meeting of the Maunga Authority at the Town Hall on 15 September
  • Communications catch up on 15 September
  • Engagement adviser catch up on 15 September
  • Local Board Meeting on 16 September – Formal deliberations to consider submissions and resolve direction of the Local Board Plan
  • Meeting to develop feedback on the community grants policy on 24 September
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 24 September
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 24 September
  • Meeting with Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Inc to discuss “Weekend Streets” on 26 September
  • Site visit to Kelston Community Hub with members of the community placemaking champions working group on 29 September
  • Local Board Workshop on 30 September

CRL Open day Allan MatsonEvents and functions

In the period 1 September – 30 September I attended:

  • CRL open day event at the Town Hall on 1 September hosted by Auckland Transport (photo right)
  • The Great Climate Voter Debate on 3 September at Q Theatre
  • ATC’s Trees beneath the Lake at the Maidment Theatre (at the invitation of ATC) on 6 September
  • Grafton Gully cycleway opening on 6 September (ATTACHMENT A)
  • Child poverty Hikoi on 6 September
  • Hosted the Green Desk on 95bfm  on 9 September talking to Louise Carr- Neill Manager of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market
  • Speaking at Bike to the FutureUpper Khartoum Place opening on 10 September (speech given on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board ATTACHMENT B)
  • Craft Market at Studio One
  • Jervios Road Market day on 13 September
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market 5th birthday celebration on 14 September (I am chair of the management committee)
  • Cycle Action Auckland’s AGM at Pioneer Women’s Hall on 24 September
  • Newmarket Business Association AGM on 25 September
  • Launch of the Heritage Festival at Shed 10 on 26 September (photo below)
  • Bike to the Future organised by Generation Zero on 28 September (photo right giving a speech before the bike ride in support of cycle lanes on K’rd)
  • Festival Italiano in Newmarket and lunch hosted by Dante Alighieri on Sunday 28 September (gift bag from Dante Alighieri contained: a book on Newmarket, pasta, hair product, mascara, cooking apron, balsamic vinegar)
Heritage festival
Arriving at the opening of the Heritage Festival at Shed 10 with Christopher Dempsey

Khartoum Place re-opening – the new Kate Sheppard Place

Speech for the reopening of Khartoum Place on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board 

10 September 2014

  • Suffrage memorial Khartoum Place It’s a pleasure to be here to help celebrate the re-opening and upgrade of what is a special and significant space for Auckland city
  • Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers, your co-host, has stood aside so I can make some very specific acknowledgements today.
  • As the Mayor touched on, this is the site of the Woman’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial,   which honours the strength and determination of Auckland women who worked towards the goal of women’s suffrage. The memorial is made of over 2000 coloured tiles designed by artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison commissioned for Suffrage Centennial Year in 1993
  • We’ve come together here many times to commemorate Suffrage Day Aotearoa New Zealand – coming up next week on 19 September (all invited back) – and International Womens Day. And yes I always have my bike with me – the transport of the suffragists symbolised in the tiles.!
  • Khartoum place with Art GalleryAs many of you may know, during the redesign of this space the Memorial came under attack and was at risk of being moved.  Khartoum place was described as a “sordid blot on Auckland’s urban landscape” and the memorial a “makeshift urinal”.
  • The suffrage mural was designed for this space and brings an added depth to what  Khartoum Place is. I hope you agree the re-design that we are celebrating today has enhanced the Memorial and secured its place in the city centre as a cultural and heritage asset. In fact the upgrade would not look so amazing with out the memorial as the centre piece
  • I’d like to acknowledge all those who have fought to retain the Memorial in particular Margaret Wilson, Michelle Wright, Patricia Woodley, Julie Fairey and pro bono lawyers from Ellis Gould Joanna van den Bergen and Julie Goodyear.  I also acknowledge the unwavering determination of Cr Cathy Casey supported by the Mayor and political colleagues who  secured the memorial (Cathy moved the last amendment  at the end of 5 days of Unitary Plan meetings to get support for lifting the proposed draft Unitary Plan designation of “road reserve” from Khartoum Place and replacing it with an “open space” zoning.  Women’s Suffrage Memorial in Khartoum Place is identified as “a historic heritage place” in the Unitary Place).
  • Khartoum Place reopening with Len Brown and Shale ChambersI think we can now relax that he battle of Khartoum has been won and that the memorial is here to stay.
  • The Mayor has thanked the many people involved in the Khartoum place upgrade . As a politician I attend many openings when the politicians are acknowledged but really have done very little but show up for the refreshments.  Today is different.
  • Today I acknowledge not just those who politically fought for the retention of the Suffrage memorial in Khartoum Place but also those who had the courage and tenacity to forge ahead with the upgrade.  The upgrade project was in danger of being delayed or canned about 2 years ago but Shale doggedly pushed it through with the support of the Mayor.  He knew that if we lost our nerve we would lose momentum and the upgrade could be in danger of not happening at all (Some of the opposition to the upgrade was very unstandable neighbouring businesses had already experienced a lot of disruption in the area).   I think today he has been vindicated and I thank him.
  • For too long Auckland has just been ok and our street spaces have not lived up to the majesty of our natural environment or our desire to be taken seriously as an international city. However projects such as this, completed to an exceptionally high standard to last for generations, have allowed us to see our city in a new light and to take pride in our city centre.
  • The Waitematā Local Board is committed to continue to play our role in making the inner city a more liveable, vibrant and connected place that welcomes all people of all ages.
  • Looking around now at how  beautiful Khartoum place looks with the memorial at its heart I think all that is needed is for this space to be  named not after an imperial battle that New Zealand actually refused to take part in but in the future I look forward to it being named Suffrage Place or Kate Sheppard Place.

Khartoum place portraits Revamp of Iconic Auckland location complete – Auckland Council media release

Margaret Wilson representing the National Council of Women officially reopened Khartoum Place following the upgrade with the Mayor Len Brown and Waitemata Local Board Chair, Shale Chambers.

Entertainment in the square after the ribbon cutting was provided by a band made up of very talented Council employees. Fine arts students from Auckland University provided portraits (Briony right working on my sketch)


The role of bicycles in the suffrage movement

Pippa Coom and Len Brown on Suffrage Day 2013

[updated on the 200th anniversary of the bicycle to include the pic of the Darrow siblings]

2013 marks 120 years since NZ women were granted the vote. I was really fortunate to be invited by NCWNZ – Auckland branch to speak on the role of the bicycle in the suffrage movement at the annual celebration of suffrage day at Khartoum Place. Here is my short speech:

I love using a bike for transport because it is freedom

Freedom from traffic jams, petrol prices and parking problems

So I can imagine the incredible feeling of freedom experienced by women when the safety bicycle was invented in the 1880’s. Cycling was an activity that women could do equally with men, especially wearing bicycle bloomers.

Miss Darrow with her brothers in Thames around 1885 (not known to be a suffragist but this is a lovely photo of a woman in the 19th Century NZ enjoying the freedom of riding
Miss Darrow with her brothers in Thames around 1885 (not known to be a suffragist but this is a lovely photo of a woman in the 19th Century NZ enjoying the freedom of riding)

NZ women were huge enthusiasts for riding. Kate Sheppard was one of the pioneering cyclists and a member of the Atalanta cycling club in Christchurch. I can just imagine Kate and the suffragists on their bicycles collecting many of the 32,000 signatures that secured women the vote. I thank them for their activism and determination and acknowledge the role of the bicycle in the emancipation of women.

I also give thanks to the frockers who have come along today on their bikes- including Kate Sheppard’s great, great niece, Barb Cuthbert who is also an activist working to get more Aucklanders cycling every day.

Just by riding a bicycle as a woman you are demanding freedom of the road and investment in cycling infrastructure.  Fortunately the Mayor is committed to making cycling a priority in his second term so we can reclaim the roads for women and children and ride with the same confidence as the suffragists in the 19th Century.

Thanks  to Julie Fairey and Margaret Wilson from the NCWNZ for the opportunity to speak about bicycles on this significant day.