Letter To Manukau
Friday 18 July 2008 - Issue 31
In this update:
New Motorway | Manurewa Meeting | Arts Scene
On Monday I enjoyed a tour of Transit New Zealand's State Highway 1 to 20 Manukau motorway extension project. It is a hugely important development for Manukau. When it is finished in mid-2010, traffic will be able to drive directly between the southern and southwestern motorways. Eventually the motorway extension will form part of Auckland's Western Ring Route.
Councillors David Collings, Sylvia Taylor and Michael Williams accompanied me on the visit as did council chief executive Leigh Auton. I was impressed to see the progress made by contractors Leighton Works. The project is well on track for its completion date.
It has also featured superb environmental management. This was recognised at last month's joint Auckland Regional Council and New Zealand Contractor's Federation Environmental Excellence Awards.
Careful management and environmental controls have protected nearby waterways like the Puhinui Stream despite the many thousands of tonnes of earthworks the project requires.
The new motorway will transform the centre of Manukau. It will see 12 bridges built as well as three major interchanges. Some of these are well underway. Landscaping will incorporate planting more than 240,000 native plants and trees.
The new motorway extension will be an asset for our city, region and nation.
Last Friday a host of ministers and MPs came to Manurewa to listen to people's community safety concerns. About 100 people were at a meeting at Manurewa Library. Those present included Ministers Ruth Dyson (Social Development and Employment), Annette King (Police), Maryan Street (Housing), Nanaia Mahuta (Youth Affairs) and Darren Hughes (Associate – Social Development).
Also in attendance were community group representatives, the Manurewa Community Board, police, councillors, government department and council officials as well as MPs George Hawkins, Mark Gosche, Ashraf Choudhary and Su'a William Sio.
I thought the meeting went really well with the strengths and areas of need in Manurewa robustly discussed.
Minister Dyson responded positively to the Manurewa Community Board's concept of a community safety centre (hub) with wide reach into the different neighbourhoods. She said it was forward thinking and built on the strengths present in the Manurewa community. The council will work with the board and government departments to further develop this concept as well as other initiatives.
There's plenty of good work going on in Manurewa. At the meeting we heard from Pastor Lui Ponifasio from Life Church, Rajvinder Singh from a local Sikh temple, youth worker Stephen Miller, Eru Thompson from Manurewa Marae and Isabel Evans on behalf of the multi-agency Auckland Youth Support Network. Representatives from other groups also spoke. All these groups and many more are making invaluable contributions.
The arts scene in Manukau is buzzing if two outstanding exhibitions I had the privilege of opening last week are anything to go by.
At Uxbridge, Howick's Creative Centre, the Matariki exhibition Te Kakano The Seed features works by students from Sancta Maria College, Howick College, St Kentigern College, Botany Downs Secondary School, Pakuranga College, Edgewater College, Macleans College and Mangere College as well as Howick Primary School. I greatly enjoyed the pieces on show.
At Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Pakuranga, the first major public gallery exhibition for Auckland painter Peter Stichbury is now open. It is quite stunning and will go to other venues in New Zealand, next stop Dunedin.
I recommend both these exhibitions to anyone with an interest in the arts.
I hope you all enjoy the upcoming week.