Current Issues Media Coverage

Kauri Dieback Spreads To A City Park On Auckland’s North Shore

Kauri dieback is suspected to have spread to a park in a bushy suburb just north of the bridge on Auckland’s North Shore.

A track at Chelsea Estate Heritage Park has been closed by Auckland Council, as a precautionary measure, while investigations are carried out on a kauri tree that may be infected.

“The tree is showing signs of decline; however, we cannot be 100 percent sure of infection until the test results come back,” Auckland Council biosecurity manager Phil Brown said.

In January, Brown said, while the disease was likely to have spread across the Shore, it was positive Birkenhead was free of the disease.

Visual inspection of the tree was inconclusive but there was a strong possibility the kauri was infected with the disease, Brown said.

“As a precautionary measure, we have closed this track, which is accessed from Blundell Place in Birkenhead, immediately, while we await confirmation from the lab and develop a plan for managing this response,” Brown said.

Signage was installed to close the track on May 4 and additional footwear-cleaning measures for the Chelsea Park area were being assessed.

Soil samples have been taken from around the tree, and where expected to confirm, in early June, whether the tree had been infected.

“From what we know about the incubation period for this disease, if it is in fact infected, this tree may have been in decline for some years, yet not necessarily showing any visible signs of infection,” Brown said.

Brown previously acknowledged kauri dieback had been present in the North Shore for about eight years.

“It has been here a long time. We don’t know for certain where it has come from, all we know is suddenly it has spread rapidly,” Brown said in January.

Albany Scenic Reserve and Okura Bush were the most readily identified areas on the North Shore with the disease, but it may have spread, Brown said.

Kauri dieback is a type of fungus that gets into tree roots and over time can kill the tree.

The tree in question was found during the council’s out track surveys that have been rolling out across the north of the Auckland region in recent months.

Auckland Council advises visitors to kauri forests to clean their footwear and equipment before entering kauri areas and after leaving.

The council has been conducting a survey of kauri dieback across Auckland with results due back soon.

Article published in North Shore Times
Published 04 May 2018

Current Issues Rawene car park

Birkenhead’s second slip adds to town centre parking disaster

A second slip has torn another chunk from the slope of a car park in Auckland’s Birkenhead seeing the landslide creep closer towards businesses.

What began as a small crack in Rawene Rd car park in August, has steadily worsened. In October, the back half of the car park slipped down a gorge on October 8.

Now, a second landslide has appeared directly next to the initial slip, on the western side, and the edge of it is a lot closer to the back of Birkenhead’s Mokoia Rd shops.

However, in spite of the growing hole in the middle of the Birkenhead village, local morale remains high and there even a few “slip” puns flying around the town, said Birkenhead Town Centre Association chairman Pete Taylor.

The new slip is visibly steeper in appearance compared to the initial slip in October but not as deep.

Of course there are worries about the slip, but the main concern for the businesses is the parking situation, Taylor said.

“Although the slip is increasing, we’ve actually managed to mitigate the car parks,” he said.

“We have come up with some really cool solutions. We want our customers safe and enjoying the village.”

Brett Norris, a worker in nearby Rawene Chambers, said it is disappointing the slip has happened, but due to the instability that was “always likely”.

“It’s going to cause more issues going forwards. The business association has done a good job of trying to free up car parks and Auckland Transport is helping,” Norris said.

“This extra problem is not one we expected or anticipated. I think it caught everyone by surprise.”

Auckland Transport Mark Hannan said for public safety all pedestrian and vehicle access to the Rawene car park access road is now prohibited.

The kerb that joins the Rawene car park access road to the pavement is split apart like a broken zipper.

An engineering team and technical specialist was working on the problem and reviewing the stabilisation work which was being done.

“Options to progress the stabilisation work are being investigated and we expect this work to be paused for at least one week.”

Article by Laine Moger
Published November 30 2017 North Shore Times –

Current Issues Rawene car park

It has happened again: Second slip in Auckland’s Birkenhead car park

A second landslide has torn away another chunk of a car park in Auckland’s Birkenhead, and is creeping towards businesses.

What began as a crack in the public car park in August, has steadily worsened. The back half of Rawene Rd car park slipped down a gorge on October 8.

Now, a second landslide has appeared directly next to the initial slip, on the western side, and the edge of it is a lot closer to the back of Birkenhead’s Mokoia Rd shops.

The kerb that joins the Rawene car park access road to the pavement is split apart like a broken zipper. The slip is visibly a lot steeper in appearance compared to the initial slip in October but not as deep.

Auckland Transport’s Mark Hannan first announced there had been another slip via media release on November 28 at 5pm.

This morning, Hannan said there was no overnight movement of the site following the second slip.

At least 10 engineers were on site on Wednesday morning.

“Building inspectors have assessed surrounding properties and there continues to be no indication of a risk to those properties,” Hannan said.

“Specialists are continuing to monitor the site and stabilisation work has been paused while the impact of the second slip is being investigated.

“In the interest of public safety, pedestrian and vehicle access to private car parks via the slip road is now prohibited.”

Hannan said a piece of equipment, which is described as similar to a platform, fell about three metres. Hannan confirmed no-one had been injured.

Kaipātiki Local Board chairwoman Danielle Grant was at the slip this morning.

Grant said the board was waiting for geotechnical reporting and a stabilisation plan to gain a better understanding of the next steps.

“The main thing businesses are after, at the moment, is clear and ongoing communication.”


Claire Balfour, chairwoman of the nearby Mokoia Apartments body corporate, said residents were concerned about the significant drop in the car park when it first appeared almost three weeks before the slip happened.

She said the asphalt had originally been poured onto unstable land without a retaining wall and was “an accident waiting to happen”.

Auckland Transport has defended its management of the gaping hole that has appeared where the car park used to be.

AT’s chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds said the car park had washed away into the gorge below it following “pretty significant rains” over the past 12 months.

Edmonds said AT had been monitoring the site for 12 months and it took appropriate action when the crack appeared, closing part of the car park and fencing it off for public safety.

Article by Laine Moger
Published November 29 2017

Current Issues Rawene car park

Cracks under a north Auckland carpark first noticed in August

Residents near a newly-formed slip in an Auckland carpark say they are disappointed it took so long to be taken seriously.

The back half of Birkenhead’s public Rawene Car Park slipped down a gorge on Sunday night and has continued to slip since.

Claire Balfour, the chairwoman of the body corporate of the nearby Mokoia Apartments, said residents were concerned about the significant drop in the car park when it first appeared almost three weeks ago but it seemed impossible to get the full attention of council or Auckland Transport.

From a crack to a landslide

She said the asphalt had originally been poured onto unstable land without a retaining wall and was “an accident waiting to happen”.

While the residents now have an AT liaison, Balfour said they felt they hadn’t been paid much attention till the slip occurred.

“We’re disappointed it’s taken so long, we had to be persistent,” she said.

“We’re just trying to get some assurance that when [the apartments] were built, the people did their jobs properly and built on good foundations.”

Brett Norris, a worker in nearby Rawene Chambers, agreed with Balfours’ remarks and said the selling point for his business was the large car park next door.

But now, from a Birkenhead trading perspective, there were 40 fewer car parks.

We aren’t going to get those back,” Norris said.

Other locals have shared their upset and concern regarding the economic impact Rawene car park’s issues have had on local businesses.

Auckland Transport has defended its management of the gaping hole that has appeared where a north Auckland carpark used to be.

AT’s Chief Infrastructure Officer Greg Edmonds said the Rawene car park in Auckland’s Birkenhead had washed away into the gorge below it following the “pretty significant rains” over the last 12 months.

Edmonds said AT had been monitoring the site for 12 months and it took appropriate action whe the crack appeared, closing part of the carpark and fencing it of for public safety.

He again rejected that vibrations from a near-by development may have played a part saying the “initial view” was that it was more due to the fact it was built in the 1960s on “uncontrolled fill”.

He said the slip was a natural process and the only thing to do was wait and see where the slipping would end and where the solid ground was.

The rear section of the car park was cordoned off by Auckland Transport for safety reasons on September 20, following the subsidence of an already-existing crack.

Now, parts of that cordon lay in the ditch below the car park, alongside large slabs of tarmac with the white car park lines still visible on them.

Local workers who have been observing the situation say it was “ludicrous” that drilling that “shook” nearby buildings, would not cause issues with the car park.

Birkenhead worker Brett Norris said he had been in Birkenhead for 30 years.

“I knew if there was significant shaking it would compromise it [the car park],” he said.

Locla MP Jonathan Coleman said the slip was “a major local issue which is of extreme concern to local residents and businesses”.

He said there needed to be a “medium to long term solution so business is not affected”.

Coleman said he was organising a meeting on Wednesday for AT to inform residents and businesses of what was going on.

Optometrist Tony Craddock asked: “But what happens now? Are we going to have a massive hole in Birkenhead?”

Geotech engineer Bryce Schou said that in principle, it was possible to remediate the area and a slip of that size.

“I can’t speak for Birkenhead specifically, but there are various ways and means to combat what made the slip in the first place, and carry out work to put things right,” Schou said.

However it would come down to a case of costs versus benefits, he said.

AT said in a media release on Tuesday that parking has been restricted in Rawene Rd car park in Birkenhead.

It said the car park had slipped away after heavy rain over recent months.

AT says it was actively monitoring the slip and it has had an engineering geologist on site.

There was no immediate danger but a large area of the car park had been cordoned off. Members of the public must not enter the cordoned off area, AT said.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 10 October 2017 The North Shore Times –

Current Issues Rawene car park

Part of public car park on Auckland’s North Shore slips away

First it was a crack, now the whole back half of a North Shore carpark has slipped away.

The rear section of Rawene car park in Auckland’s Birkenhead was closed off by Auckland Transport for safety reasons on September 20, following the subsidence of an already existing crack.

Fewer than three weeks later, the crack has become a slip.

The manager of a nearby business, who did not want to be named, said the subsidence had got progressively worse.

“Once a crack occurs and it starts raining all the water goes in there and makes it weak.”

He said he couldn’t see the problem being fixed any time soon.

Auckland Transport’s Mark Hannan said investigations were still underway and staff were “actively monitoring the slip”.

He said there was “no danger to the public” but was asking people to respect the cordon.

“We have an engineering geologist on site today to assess and provide recommendations,” Hannan said.

“Engineers are working to determine the stability of the fill and whether we need to cordon off further areas of the car park.”

Hannan had previously denied the cause of the crack was linked to adjacent construction work by private developers Chelsea Bay due to the fact the car park was built on an embankment of landfill.

However, nearby residents weren’t convinced, saying the construction work was so loud it shook neighbouring building Rawene Chambers, and that the car park had been fine until construction took place.

Mokoia Ridge resident David Corlett said he was concerned that Auckland Council has underestimated the impact of pile-driving on unstable land.

The Chelsea Bay developers and Auckland Transport had been contacted for more comment.

Kaipatiki Local Board deputy chairman John Gillon said he had also contacted AT.


Meanwhile, in south Auckland a huge hole has opened up in a rural road.

A section of Kingseat Rd had been closed on Monday afternoon, police said.

The affected area was between Glenbrook and Pearson roads near the village of Patumahoe.

“The road will be closed … for the foreseeable future as engineers assess the hole, which is approximately 2m x 2m in size,” police said.

“Motorists are asked to use the diversion in place via Pearson Rd.”

The hole had formed due to recent rainfall, police said.

GNS Science said natural sinkholes generally form in terrain which is underlain by soluble rocks, such as limestones and chalks.

Water moving through the rocks slowly dissolves them, creating underground holes which are visible when the ground above them subsides.

Sinkholes can also appear when loose soil and silt is eroded by underground water.

They can also be caused by human error, such as incorrect design of a tunnel or mineshaft.

The cause of a sinkhole, such as a broken pipe or design flaw, needs to be addressed before the sinkhole can be repaired, GNS Science said.

Article by Zizi Sparks And Laine Moger
Published North Shore Times – October 9 2017

Current Issues Media Coverage Transport Issues

Cycleway will affect carparks on Queen St

A proposed cycleway through Northcote’s Queen St is dividing residents.

Auckland Transport says their 5.2 kilometre Northcote Safe Cycle Route will encourage more cycling.

But Auckland Transport’s plans would remove off-street parking from significant portions of the route between Northcote Point and Smales Farm, including Queen St.

Queen St resident Briar Walsh’s family of five would lose three car parks if a dedicated cycleway replaces parking on her side of the road, she says.

“It’s just the most illogical idea, there needs to be another plan,” she says.

Walsh estimates her family will face a 200 to 300 metre walk every day to find a car park “even if they’re lucky” and local businesses will suffer too.

Kaipatiki Local Board member Richard Hills says the plan, which the board supports, is out for public consultation and it is not “100 per cent clear how much parking will be taken out”.

Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman, who lives on Queen St, says he has received a “hell of a lot of correspondence from residents who have huge issues” with parking.

A recreational cyclist, Coleman rides the proposed route frequently, but says he cannot see the justification for it.

“I see very few cyclists along the route and there’s nothing in the consultation document about cost,” he says.

An Auckland Transport spokeswoman says the estimated cost of the cycle route is less than $4m.

Coleman believes the cycleway is a “trojan horse” to get the Skypath’s northern landfall from the Harbour Bridge built at Northcote Point.

Birkenhead resident and Cycle Action member Steve Southall says the cycleway plan has received “generally positive feedback” but it will not please everybody.

Auckland Transport has come up with “a good design, given the constraints along the route,” he says.

“There’s insufficient road width for everyone to get a slice of the pie,” the former roading engineer admits.

Southall, a commuter biker, cites Belmont Intermediate’s 30 per cent increase in student cyclists because of the Lake Rd cycleway.

“You really have to ask ‘what is the priority for our road space, is it giving people free off-street parking, or is it getting our kids to school?’ “.

Auckland Transport is holding open day consultations, starting August 9, at the Northcote Library. Construction on the route is planned to start in late 2015.



Written by Simon Maude
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times 05 August 2014

Birkenhead Wharf / Ferries Current Issues

Birkenhead Wharf Bike Cage

Have you seen the new bike cage at Birkenhead Wharf?


This new bike shelter at the wharf is a great idea to encourage cyclists but the shelter has been put in a prime place on the wharf – without any consultation with people and groups who use the wharf.

The bike cage blocks a panoramic view!
It disrupts harbour related activities & safety!

Many people are expressing concern:

  • People young and old who have enjoyed the panoramic views of the upper harbour for generations
  • The yacht club, waterwise and the canoe groups who do a great job providing healthy sports activities and water safety training for our young people; volunteers need visibility from the wharf to ensure safety
  • People who come to fish in the deep water off the wharf or to watch their families take part in boating activities

Prime Birkenhead Wharf space must be for harbour activities!

We fully support parking for cyclists and motor scooter users.
But this bike shelter is in the wrong place!

Petition to move the bike cage

In association with other users of Birkenhead Wharf, we have organised a Petition to request that Auckland Council and the Kaipatiki Local Board act now to:

  • Move the bike cage from the part of the wharf where it blocks the view and interferes with harbour-related activities such as water safety, regattas and fishing
  • Create facilities for cycle and scooter parking in other locations at the wharf in consultation with community groups and local people
  • Ensure that in future for any other public works, full community consultation is undertaken by relevant departments or CCOs of Auckland Council

If you haven’t already received a copy of the petition in your mailbox you can get more forms or other information from one (or more) of the following:

You can also sign the petition at:

  • Coffee General (100 Hinemoa St)
  • Hinemoa St Café (138 Hinemoa St)
  • Casual Foodie (23 Enterprise St)

Post signed petitions to 7 Awanui Street Birkenhead 0626 or email for collection.

Please return it asap but by 3 August 2013 at the latest

194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Contractor ‘placing lives at risk’

Residents angered by a 45-bedroom boarding house in Birkenhead claim developers started construction illegally and are “placing people’s lives at risk”.

And Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman has publicly criticised the developers and the Auckland Council, saying the public should have been told.

Around 45 people turned up at Birkenhead Library for a meeting with Mr Coleman, Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh and owner-operator of the Hinemoa St boarding home Brett Cranston.

Concerns have been raised over the council’s process and the potential to attract residents with anti-social behaviour.

A neighbour says permission was never sought to block her driveway and is in breach of her rights.

One Birkenhead resident says he made a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment because of the nature of construction work at the site.

“The contractor is placing people’s lives at risk.”

Mr Coleman said at the beginning of the meeting he had “no public position” but by the end he slammed the council and Mr Cranston, saying it should have been publicly notified because there was “no upside for residents”.

It was also a lesson in “public relations”, Mr Coleman said, as Mr Cranston admitted the meeting was the first time he had ever consulted with Birkenhead residents.

Mrs Waugh also changed tack on her previous stance, saying construction work and safety on the site must now be investigated.

“The level I’m hearing today I find very disturbing.”

Mr Cranston, who runs two similar establishments in Panmure and Otahuhu, says the Scottys-branded accommodation does not accept those referred by Work and Income or any similar services.

Rumours it will become a brothel are untrue and it is marketed as “adults only” because it is not acceptable living circumstances for those under 18, he says.

Mr Cranston says the boarding home will actually have 48 rooms, despite official council reports saying 45.

He also disputed the size of the rooms, saying council’s 14 square metre size was wrong.

The boarding home has a three car park-shortfall with residents saying time-restricted on-street parking for boarding home tenants is not an option.

The council says impacts on the surrounding area “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.


Written by: Jess Etheridge
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times – 28 May 2013

194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Rumours run rife over brothel

Rumours a 45-bedroom boarding home being built in Birkenhead will become a brothel are “unsubstantiated”.

Residents have contacted the North Shore Times with claims the 194 Hinemoa St “adults’ only” hotel will be used as a brothel.

Two other hotels are run in Panmure and Otahuhu by the same developer.

One resident, Shirley-Ann McCrystal, says she was told by Panmure businesses the hotel in their area was “nothing more or less than a brothel”.

“There is the argument that prostitution is a legalised ‘profession’ but it is the addition of more drunken ne’er do wells that hang about them which our neighbourhood can do with out thank you.”

But Panmure Business Association town manager Chris Sutton says it is “absolutely not” a brothel.

Mrs Sutton says residents raised the same concerns but those living in the Panmure hotel are working and are part of the community.

It was also non-notified which concerned the community, Mrs Sutton says.

Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh also disputes the “unsubstantiated” claim.

“Until there is any evidence that this is intended as a brothel I will not respond to unsubstantiated urban myths. There has been no indication of this development becoming a brothel in the resource consent application.”

Residents have questioned Auckland Council after the three-storey boarding house development was approved.

The council says public input was not needed as the effects of the building on the area were deemed minor.

Rooms range in size between 14 square metres and 22sqm with only 13 car parks for residents and staff.

North Shore’s district plan says a minimum of one car park to three residents is required.

This means the boarding house will have a three-park shortfall but a traffic engineer deemed it would not have significant impact.

Birkenhead Residents Association says the validity of a boarding house not going through a public feedback process is questionable.

The council says impacts on the surrounding area “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.

It says the project won’t adversely affect neighbours of the boarding house.

194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Birkenhead boarding house gets up nose of neighbours

Birkenhead residents are up in arms over a boarding house rising in a picturesque boutique shopping street.

Birkenhead residents are up in arms over a boarding house rising in a picturesque boutique shopping street and worry about the “type of people” it might bring.

Birkenhead Residents Association members decried work at 194-198 Hinemoa St where consent has been granted for additions and alterations to an existing commercial building for the establishment and operation of a 62-bed boarding house.

They questioned how Panmure Trust’s project got consent and retailers Jo Sutton and Paul McKenzie, of Bambina International, nearby are worried.

“Our retail store is aimed at mums and babies and small children are in the immediate vicinity. The type of people who typically live at this kind of address are definitely not the type we want permanently in the vicinity of our store. We are concerned for the safety of our staff and customers as well as a potential increase in shoplifting. Birkenhead has more than it’s share of colourful characters already. We agree that a boarding house is most definitely residential. We will be doing all that we can to add our voice to this battle,” they told the association.

Sutton said houses in the street regularly sold for $1 million-plus, the project was near the Birkenhead Library, plunket rooms, a park and the Citizens Advice Bureau and the local board was behind a big push to enhance the area.

Nick Kearney, Kaipataki Local Board deputy chairman, said consent for the boarding house was processed on a non-notified basis because the project complied in almost all aspects. The works planned were a permitted activity, he said, therefore did not need to be notified, although he was aware of feeling in the community against the project.

Auckland Council granted the approval and the board had no active role in it, Mr Kearney said.

The council report on the project said there was no need to call for objections.

“There is no basis for the council to exercise its broad discretion to publicly notify the application because the proposal is conventional in nature and represents no significant deviation from the range of effects anticipated by the plan,” said the report. Hinemoa St is an “edge of town centre street” and providing an active/public use at the street front is not considered to be an absolute necessity, it said.

The provision of a continuous veranda along the street facade would ensure that the appearance of the building is consistent with the expectations of the District Plan and maintained the character and amenity of the town centre, it concluded.


Written by: Anne Gibson
Photo by: Greg Bowker
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 21 May 2013