Richard Northey: Waitemata Local Board Chair

Now we are back to Level 1 we can participate in and enjoy public events.

Unfortunately, the Franklin Road community has decided to cancel its iconic Franklin Road Christmas Lights event because of continuing risks and requirements generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but we look forward to next year’s event. We were pleased that the Waitemata Local Board’s main annual event, the Parnell Festival of Roses held in the Rose Gardens and Dove Myer Robinson Park, was able to take place and this went off very well on 15 November. I took the opportunity while there to talk to both opponents and supporters of a proposed national memorial to the Erebus air disaster in that park. At our November Board Meeting, the Board, after lengthy and impassioned debate, decided that a national memorial to the Erebus disaster be approved as it would be well suited to being placed in that beautiful and serene park.

The future of the Leys Institute will be decided early next year by Council’s Governing Body as part of its decision making on Council’s Long-Term Plan. In September the Waitemata Local Board resolved unanimously to “endorse the... restoration, modernisation and seismic remediation of Leys Institute... as soon as practicable.” The restoration of the Leys Institute buildings and the creation of a park at 254 Ponsonby Road were major points in the Board’s own advocacy to the Governing Body, which I presented to them on 11 November, about what should be prioritised in Council’s next Long-Term Plan. We also called for higher priority to be given to cleaning up our waterways, transport and road safety projects and action on climate change. When the time for public submissions comes, from 15 February to 15 March next year, it would be helpful for you to make a submission about these and other issues and priorities for Council.

Earlier this year, we carried out a consultation with our local community about our proposed Waitemata Local Board Plan and at a special 3 November meeting we adopted it. This Plan will guide our actions for the next three years. At our special 3 November meeting we also debated the future of the forest on the eastern slopes of the Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Orea Park. Because of their age and disease, many of the pine trees there have been found to represent a danger and therefore that part of the park has been closed since 2018. The Board has long wanted to help grow a healthy restored and regenerating native forest there. We met and talked with many in the Western Springs community and with independent experts so we could decide whether this would best be achieved by the full removal of the pine stand or by gradual selective pine tree removal over several years.

While the majority of the Board believed that just taking out a few trees at a time would carry too great safety risks with it, the community had diverse views on how to do this, and it would have delayed the full opening of the park to the public and the commencement of a planned restoration programme building on the regrowth that is already happening. The pines are likely to be removed after the end of the bird nesting season around March. The forest would then be fully opened to public use and with a planting and weed control programme, with active public participation, beginning around May next year.

Ponsonby Road will be an area for the Innovating Streets tactical urbanism programme. We have asked Auckland Transport to work closely with the Ponsonby community and businesses on activities to make the Ponsonby Road corridor safer and more user friendly for fun, getting around and business growth. To find out more about the project, visit

Because of the continuing drought we all still need to limit our water use. The Board office will be closed on 22 December and reopen on 6 January. I wish all of you an enjoyable and restful festive season and summer holiday after what has been a really exhausting and trying year for all of us. Let’s all hope for a better New Year.

I can be contacted at 021 534 546 or E: