Aucklanders Reclaim Queens Wharf - For Three Hours (Photos)


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What a joke.

The wonderful waterfront spot blocked out to the public for 98 years and known as Queens Wharf was open to the public this afternoon for a mere three hours before the gates were firmly shut again and security procedures back in place to stop anyone poking their nose over the fence.

That spot was found to be soulness, rundown and a criminal waste of premium waterfront land.

There wasn’t much to take in apart from the water edge view. Just two projectors in the dilapidated Shed 10 with a slideshow on the project, viewed in poor visibility in the darkened building.

Check out the designs submitted here

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But at least a trickle of Aucklanders, under the watchful eye of security guards, piled in to see the chosen RWC Party Central spot and get a feel for its potential depending on the eventual choice from the supposed hundreds of submitted designs for how the space could be used.

Queens Wharf is just a stone’s throw from Britomart and as summer approaches, how nice it would be to pop down there while waiting for a train. Or just to take in Auckland’s harbour which is one of the city’s best looks.

manukau-jpg 13“Opening the Red Gates” as it was called sounded like a Paremoremo open day for family and friends of inmates.

It actually made me really cross to think this treasure has been locked away for so long from us.

What happens now?manukau-jpg 36

From next week , the designs are evaluated. By whom?
“The evaluation of designs is being overseen by the CEOs of the three partner organisations - Ministry of Economic Development (for the Government), Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council.An advisory panel comprising Prof. John Hunt, Ian Athfield, Rebecca Skidmore, Jillian de Beer and Graeme McIndoe will review, evaluate and then recommend the finalists to the CEOs.
The CEOs will oversee the process to evaluate the finalists and advise the relevant elected politicians from the three partner organisations. The elected politicians will make the final decision on the winning entries, based on the CEOs’ recommendation.
The CEOs will be supported by various technical experts covering many fields including: cruise ship logistics, security, customs, tourism tours; heritage;manukau-jpg 29commercial development; quantity surveying, construction and project management; major events/RWC 2011; public transport infrastructure and services and ports operations.
manukau-jpg 41On Sept 25 finalists are announced and those finalists then “refine their entries based on feedback from the evaluation panel which takes into considerable public comments.”

In the last weeks of October the refined designs get evaluated and the winning design announced in November.

manukau-jpg 65The wharf next door with its stockpile of used car imports is just as depressing. You don’t see this in Wellington or Sydney where you can wander around, take in the sea air, stop and eat your lunch and feed the seagulls and in our case marvel at the harbour, watch the ferries, ponder the harbour bridge.manukau-jpg 66

I fear - like the electrification of trains - shortcuts will be taken and my so - called $2 shop solution will suffice.

It will be cheap and nasty which, excuse the cynicism, fits into the rather cheap and nasty look the council has encouraged in recent years by allowing hideous apartment buildings and the blocking out of harbour views.

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As the red gates close once again to the public, how can we ensure than when they open again, the authorities have got it right?




  1. AR says:

    I completely agree with you there. $80.00 million for a ‘world class’ cruise ship terminal is nothing. We will probably be left with a tacky Kiwiana theme complete with wakas, seagulls, rocks and to top it all of-Nikau Palms. A coat of ashphalt will also suffice.
    And then to the sheds that are a complete joke! I dont understand what people see in them (probably council propaganda to keep costs minimal and tart up ugly banana sheds)..Oh god!

  2. Geoff Houtman says:

    Where do you get the $80 million figure?

    I was at the architects briefing, they told us “$47 mill and not a penny more. Actually 2.5 mill less, that’s the contingency money”.

    27 mil for the Cruise Terminal, 17.5 for the rest.

    Yet 27mil is the same amount being spent to turn Fort St into “a place where people and cars can co-exist”. As opposed to the way they’ve co-existed in Fort St for the last ninety years?

    Actually, I think I know where you got the $80 mil from, one of the papers today quoted 76 mil. No idea who donated the extra 29 million.

    Anonymously it would appear…

  3. Jon C says:

    Don’t think I mentioned a figure above.

  4. PB says:

    lets celebrate the fact that we are getting this area. We New Zealanders always look at the negative aspects first. Embrace the postive and move forward.

  5. Person says:

    I think we should build a small but iconic building and garden there. It would be great

  6. Jezza says:

    They’ll go for a cheap nasty project that people will hate for 100 years… It’s the Auckland way… Just look at Princess Wharf…

  7. Jon C says:

    That’s my fear Jezza - along with drunk rugby fans falling in the water!! (they had an ambulance and two lifeguards on duty during the open day!) But I also agree with PB we need to remain positive and hopeful that for once someone might get it right…

  8. Jezza says:

    I made a submission that they just strengthen, re-seal and fence the wharf for the world cup and leave the decision till funds are more available (and sanity returns) then start thinking Sydney Opera House quality and scope… Didn’t get much play…

  9. AR says:

    Thinking postive? Then you will be here for another 100 years and nothing would still have been done. We have a case of lunatics running our city. Their ‘propaganda’ is about keeping costs minimal (by advertising “affordable prgress”), so that the NIMBYs(annoying old grandpas and grandmas from retirement homes who have nothing better to do than compain about the $2 hike in their rates bill) arent bothered and will vote them back in. They are spending billions on roading projects and no one cares. But when it comes to public transport and other public projects (like Queens Wharf), BUDGETS come in play…Hell, I was at the Newmarket Railway Station info day last year and there were these old people complaining that the desings were too extravagant!!!!!


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