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Panoramic viewing platform opens in Birkenhead

Construction has finished on the split-level viewing platform in the heart of North Shore’s Birkenhead, offering panoramic views of Le Roys Bush, Auckland City, and Rangitoto.

Kaimataara ō Wai Manawa held an opening event on September 3, which drew in a large crowd of local board members, councillors and community families.

A few finishing touches remain to be made on a cafe and public art display, but public are still free to enjoy their newest public asset.

Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Kay McIntyre says the “soft launch” was a way to celebrate the end of construction and acknowledge the name.

The name, Kaimataara o Wai Manawa, was gifted to the community by mana whenua.

Wai Manawa is the historical name for this part of Birkenhead. Wai Manawa meaning the “source of the water” refers to the basin nature of the Le Roys Bush area, alternatively Wai Manawa (maanawa – mangroves) refers to the collection of water in the mangroves at the base.

Kaimataara means both the purpose of a space as a lookout, and to be watchful.

Together it translates as “the Lookout of Wai Manawa”.

The 10-month long construction project was a part of the Birkenhead Centre Plan.

North Shore City bought the land in 2004, with the intention of creating just a platform overlooking Le Roys Bush.

In 2012, board member Lindsay Waugh formed a liaison group to reignite the original aspirations.

Key features needed a bit of rearranging, and Moller Architects drew the final plans.

Sustainability solutions were included for the project, such as a water tank placed under the deck.

“The rainwater coming off the roof will now go into this tank,” McIntyre says.

“Recycling this water will result in saving 105,000 litres per year of water.

“It’s a good sustainability initiative. We always have got to find ways to make our water go further,” she says.

Another addition to the project, was the look-out cafe.

“It became clear that this space needed a commercial operation to return money,” McIntyre says.

Now ratepayers don’t have to pay the renewals and upgrades to the same extent, because it self-generates a rent for the council, McIntyre says.

Bungalo cafe owner Chris Jones will open the lookout cafe around November.

Visit the lookout at 35 to 41 Birkenhead Ave.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 08 September 2016 > The North Shore Times –