I had planned to continue my exploration of the Oakley Creek Walkway along the Shared Path system of cycleways/walkways that is connecting up Auckland’s green spaces. I have previously written about the more established part of the Oakley Creek Walkway in Waterview and then its continued restoration through into Alan Wood Reserve. The next logical step was to follow its course upstream across Te Whitinga (the Crossing) into Kukuwai Park and then across Richardson Road to Underwood Park and through to Walmsley Park.
Unfortunately for me but fortunately for Auckland this next stage of the walkway is undergoing a major redevelopment project not scheduled to be complete until 2019. The Te Auaunga Awa restoration project will replace the existing concrete channel that currently contains Oakley Creek with a wider naturalised stream channel. Underground pipes and pedestrian bridges will also be replaced. This restoration project will help prevent ongoing flooding issues. “Te Auaunga Awa (Oakley Creek) is a tāonga (treasure) in Wesley, Mt Roskill. It is Auckland’s longest uninterrupted urban stream. This project will help create a lasting legacy in the area.”
Walmsley and Underwood Reserves will also be redeveloped by:
- restoring native ecologies
- adding walking trails and cycle paths
- building an outdoor classroom, playground and Māori play elements.
Artist’s impression of Te Auaunga Awa once it is completed.
For the meantime, I could only get a view of progress from the Sandringham Road Extension end of Walmsley Park and then continue my journey through Mt Roskill’s War Memorial Park. Oakley Creek flows through the War Memorial Park contained within a largely straight concrete channel. The park itself is well established with large trees along the banks of the creek and it integrates with the Wesley Community Centre and flanks the Intermediate School and multiple playing fields. Several teams were just getting set up to play softball as I went past.
A key feature of this park (established in 2014 as part of the Dominion Road upgrade project) is the Hinaki Eel Trap Bridge. The design of the bridge reflects the shape of a traditional double-headed Maori hīnaki (eel trap). The bridge embraces the craftsmanship of traditional Maori weaving patterns for eel traps traditionally used along Oakley Creek and reinterprets this into modern steel fabrication that showcases the cultural story of Tuna Roa.