Auckland’s Worst Train Station

During the recent discussion about the poor state of the Mt Albert train station which needs an upgrade, I had several emails from Southern Line commuters saying Mt Albert looked heaven to those using Te Mahia train station.
They urged me to check it out - so I did today.
Nothing quite prepares you for this particular stunning advertisement for Auckland’s train network.

After becoming used to the new shiny stations in affluent Grafton and Newmarket, this is what you find at Te Mahia, which is between Manurewa and Takinini stations.

Not only is this the worst and badly vandalised, it is, according to some commuters, the most dangerous because of the narrow unlit walkways around car yards and warehouses.
For some time, it has been argued by enthusiasts and some locals that the answer is to not upgrade but relocate the station 200m north beside a vacant block of land between Great South Rd and the railway lines - or shut it down .
The Manurewa Community Board has been investigating the situation since a resident wrote to them about such a relocation,.
The bad news is the board was told in June that there is no upgrade coming and no plan to move the station despite some work going on beyond the platforms as below  (anyone know what it is?)
And everyone is pointing the finger at the new council and Auckland Transport as the people who will be responsibility for any future decision.
Under current arrangements, rail stations, rail services and rail policy are the responsibility of ARTA so the role of Manukau City Council would be presently limited to providing park and rides facilities, bus interchanges and access to stations as well as advocating to ARTA for improvements to rail facilities on behalf of the local community.
The board was told Manukau City Council has not set any policy position on the future of Te Mahia Station and there is no current proposal to do so prior to the creation of the new Auckland Council.
The ARTA Rail Development Plan 2006 had not identified any specific plans to relocate Te Mahia Station and the community board reported that ARTA has provided this response to a question about the station:
“Unfortunately, ARTA has no immediate plans to progress any work packages relating to Te Mahia Station. All station upgrades are important to ARTA. Although this station is still to be upgraded, it is not one of ARTA’s top priority upgrades. The specific question about relocation can not be answered at this time. While this is an option, there would need to be further detailed consultation before any final decision is made.”
The community board backed off any recommendation itself - saying that “it should be noted that even ‘minor’ relocations of stations can add significant cost and present design issues.
The board concluded: “It is therefore probably a matter best addressed by the future Auckland Transport CCO and Auckland Council.”




  1. rtc says:

    They’re lengthening the platforms from what I understand so I’d guess that that’s the fill you see there.

  2. Matt L says:

    Looking at a map and how close it is to Manurewa I think they should just close it. Right now it is in a bad location and only 1.2km from Manurewa, moving it to the Gt South Rd over bridge will make it only about 900m from Manurewa. Surely a better bus service from Manurewa with free transfers via integrated ticketing is a better and cheaper solution.

  3. Scott says:

    Anyone know the patronage stats?

    I say keeps it because it makes sense to have stations closer together near the end of the network as the trains are often somewhat less full here so the slowing effect of an additional station is less of a concern (as our network is limited by britomart not rolling stock).

    Id Drury big enough to support a station? The industry there could encourage some counter peak traffic and it would possible be a good park&ride location for people coming from the south due to it’s proximity to state highway one.

  4. Liam says:

    I would say that there is not much to be done, because if it was upgraded it would just be graffitied again. I don’t think many people use it, because there is not much in that area.

    I do hope Drury gets a station. There would be enough people using it to make it worthwhile to run. At least I’d definitely use it :)

  5. Jon C says:

    @Scott The only ones I have ever seen had about 300 a year which if correct seems very small.

  6. Patrick Mcmillan says:

    Takanini station is of a similar state to Te Mahia although both are getting their platforms extended. I would have thought that Takanini would have a higher priority over Te Mahia due to it’s location> I’m not sure what to think about these two, a basic improvement could be acceptable at the moment

  7. karl says:

    300 a year??? Less than one passenger a day???

  8. Geoff says:

    Te Mahia is currently being upgraded by extending the platforms to accommodate six car trains. That’s a few hundred thousand being spent, so I don’t think we should expect to see it moved or closed for the forseeable future.

  9. rtc says:

    300 a day is the loading not 300 per year

  10. LucyJH says:

    My impression from my trips to Manukau by train is a lot of stations look like that. Safety is a big issue - I remember when my sister used to catch the train from town to Glen Innes late in the evening. Then a girl got raped and murdered in a park walking home from the train station. And she stopped…

  11. suntha says:

    Typical response from people who do not live in South Auckland, A response built out of fear and of people who assume they know what its like to live there. Why shouldn’t Te Mahia and Takanini stations be upgraded, the residence of these areas deserve the same treatment as people from the more wealthier suburbs.

    I know one thing for sure is that these south aucklanders pay for their tickets which is more then I can say for the rich ponches who get on and off the train at Orakei and Meadowbank. Funny how on most days its standing room only on trains leaving Britomart via GI in the evenings with lots of passengers getting off at Orakei and Meadowbank, but on those days when the Ticket audit has been done theres heaps of seats available.

    The rich getting richer,,,,,,,,,,avaoiding paying a 1 stage fare.

    Shame on you.


  12. Scott says:


    In less than a year turnstiles/gates will be installed at Newmarket and Britomart stations. Making it extremely hard to evade paying. Although I agree fair evasion is a major issue it is not worth losing sleep over when a new system is to be introduced so soon.

    It makes sense to upgrade stations with a higher number of users first. However I agree with you that attracting passengers from then end of the network (especially counter peak flow) should be of high value to the network. A lighting upgrade at least seems to be dearly needed.

  13. suntha says:

    @ Scott.

    No ones losing sleep over it, just pointing out that from my observations (and i work on these sevices so i know first hand), that the so called Rough South Aucklanders are genuinely honest and pay their way, where as the white collar workers from Aucklands more Affluent suburbs tend to be the fare evaders.( Lets face it, They get free semi secure car parking and if really lucky a free ride to and from the city each day.)

    Papakura, Te Mahia, Takanini,Manurewa, Manurewa, Homai all get good passenger numbers thru out the day as this is an easy and cheap, reliable way of travel between these stations, many passengers shop at Southmall and travel to Te Mahia, takanini and Homai with their Groceries,

    All I was stating is that Te Mahia and Takanini both deserve a flash new upgraded station just like the Glen Edens and Orakeis of this world.

    Talk about Dodgy…………..Baldwin Ave at nightis a place I would avoid more so then the South Auckland Platforms we are talking about.


  14. Chris S says:

    Why shouldnt it be upgraded? Because in two months it would look like these pictures again. Slightly nicer, but graffitied again.
    And why have it if Manurewa station is just down the road. Waste of the passengers time by stopping for hardly anyone to get on and off.

  15. Scott says:


    I live in Grafron so i clearly have a lesser understanding of the situation in south Auckland than yourself.

    Could you give an insight into passenger numbers from the Te Mahia station. Do passenger numbers there drop more in comparison to nearby stations after dark? If money was going to be spent on the station so you think it should be relocated first?

  16. suntha says:

    @ Chris S

    what sort of statement is that…………I bet you never venture out to South Auckland……

    The same could be said for many stations……..Why have orakei when meadowbank is just up the road, why have panmure when Glen Innes is just around the corner, why have Sunnyvale when henderson is just down the road.

    What part of Te Mahia and Takanini both deserve a flash new upgraded station just like the Glen Edens and Orakeis of this world don’t you understand, the citizens and ratepayers of these suburbs pay the same levies and taxes as everyone else.


  17. Scott says:


    The last sentence in my previous comment should have read:

    “If money was going to be spent on the station DO you think it should be relocated first?”

  18. Matt L says:

    Suntha - the reason it should go is that it is to close to manurewa meaning that the trains don’t get up much speed before having to slow down again. The train line is meant to be a Rapid transit service, not a bus service with frequent stops. While I can’t comment on the eastern line, out west it takes for ever from Newmarket to Mt Albert due to how close the stations are. Personally I think Baldwin Ave and Morningside should be closed and combined into a station at St Lukes Rd to provide better spacing. Also Sunnyvale and Henderson are between 2-3km apart and have a completely straight line between them so this isn’t really an issue.

  19. Nick R says:

    I would agree with relocating Medowbank. It is a mere 1.0km from Orakei and then there is 3.7km to GI.
    Moving Meadowbank to St Johns (just before the tunnel) would give a much more even distribution, and a greater walk catchment (both sides of the creek).

  20. dj says:

    @ Nick R The first station in the Meadowbank aera was about 800m further south by the graveyard. This station was known as Purewa and was opened when the waterfront line opened. This station burnt down at some stage in the 40′s at that time it was replaced by the present station. The present station was possibly built here because about this time they were building a housing estate here. The Gowing Dr aera was a dairy farm up until the mid 60′s. Meadowbank is also quite a well used station now with between 120-130 vechiles parked in the aera each day. I agree they could do with a station in the St Johns aera but I think there may be access problems in the aera.

  21. George D says:

    Suntha’s point could also be understood to mean that Southern Line users are often paying 4-5 times what inner-city commuters pay. Granted, they are going further. But the difference couldn’t be starker. It’s been decades since anyone gave a toss about the southern stations, and they well overdue for improvement. Or even maintenance.

    Saying they shouldn’t be upgraded cause they’ll just be graffitied is just rude. The vandalism problem must be dealt with, but if we let graffiti stop upgrades, we’d never build anything.

  22. Harry says:

    Problem with relocating Meadowbank is that its quite tricky for bus services to serve this area well.

  23. Harry says:

    Fully support shutting both Te Mahia and Takanini but opening a new station at Glenora

  24. Liam says:

    @ suntha

    sorry, but I live about 10 mins away from the station, and go into that area of Manurewa about 5 times each week.

    Have a good weekend.

  25. Chris S says:

    Sorry, I didn’t put the right name up. Last comment is written by me.

  26. Jeremy says:

    Stations don’t need to be flash just safe and assessable - location plays a big part in both.

  27. suntha says:

    Liam or Chris S or whoever you are……

    that last posting really says it all.


  28. Andrew says:

    It concerns me that some people just want to close stations? How do people catch trains if all we do is close stations. By all means if a station is very poorly used or no longer serves the purpose it was built for close it. Station spacing wont the same issue with electric trains

  29. joust says:

    Hear hear George D! interesting to hear your perspective Suntha.

  30. karl says:

    Wow, this thread is getting the kind of hostility usually reserved for the Joyce fans vs Joyce haters!

    I have no problem with the general discussion of stations being closed, because hey, if this is a taboo discussion, why discuss at all? Sometimes there are good reasons for station closures. In fact, there usually are. We just have to make sure we don’t forget the good reasons which exist to keep stations open, too.

    I also understand that a number of stations were closed in the last 1-2 decades in other parts of the network, not just South Auckland.

    And no, graffiti is not a South Auckland problem, there certainly is enough elsewhere. But SOME stations, including some in South Auckland, are MORE of a target than others, and thus, new locations for some might make sense. It’s not useful to pull out the “posh vs poor” card in that discussion.

  31. suntha says:

    There is no arguement about Station closures.

    The point I was making was that there is no reason why South Auckland Rail users shouldn’t have upgraded stations the same as everyone else. Sure Graffiti is a problem but Graffiti is a problem everywhere in Auckland.

    Southern Line Stations general condition.

    Otahuhu, Shocking.
    Middlemore, OK
    Papatoetoe OK but needs platform lengthening.
    Puhinui, Shocking.
    Homai, OK
    Manurewa, OK
    Te Mahia, Currently being lengthened.
    Takanini, Shocking.
    Papakura, OK
    Pukekohe, OK but needs upgrading.

  32. karl says:

    According to your list, the majority of the Southern Line stations are okay? Also, I think one of the reason that Western Line Stations have gotten so many upgrades recently (to the detriment of more Southern Line upgrades, perhaps) is the double-tracking. Lots of stations there needed to be rebuilt or relocated anyway, so it made sense to do these ones affected by the new track works anyway.

  33. suntha says:

    Thats the point I was making all along, its generally on a par with the rest of Aucklands rail network, the trouble is alot of people have their own perceived ideas of what its like out in South Auckland and don’t know first hand.

    The original post was about Te Mahia being the worst station on the Auckland Network,

    We all agree on that.

    Then the statement came that there was no need to upgrade Te Mahia station at all or in fact they should close it down because it was in South Auckland and South Auckland was Graffiti covered and a shady and dangerous place. My response to that statement was that the Te Mahias and Takaninis of this world deserve to have their stations extended and upgraded the same as the other suburbs.


  34. Jon C says:

    @Suntha Well put and thanks for your excellent contribution to this debate.

  35. Roscoe says:

    Takanini station looks worse then this one!
    But I remember when we used to go to Intermediate at Green Meadows all the Takanini kids used to use this station it was good times apart from the gluey’s hanging around. haha.


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