Historic Auckland Houses Butchered And Demolished
"The University of Auckland's managers are destroying an invaluable part of Auckland's heritage" stated Brian Van Dam of the university Mathematics Dept.
Standing in front of a group of 4 merchant houses dating from 1870 in the heart of The University of Auckland's city campus, he pointed out two wooden houses being chainsawed into sections ready to be hauled off site and a third masonary building scheduled for immediate demolition.
"All three houses are fine examples of early Auckland merchant trading homes and contribute significantly to the historical character of the district ."
These considerations have had no effect on former Fletcher Challenge executive John Hood, the University's Vice Chancellor, who has decreed that the houses must go in order to make way for a five floor Student Amenities Complex.
Kirsty McCully, a former student, questions the need for such a monolith in the heart of the campus. "$25.5million dollars of student fees and taxpayers money is going into building a concrete block 50% of which will be retail space. The proposed building is nothing more than an office block and shopping mall."
A campus group, the Historic Auckland University Society is challenging the manner in which the university gained planning approval. They point to the fact that the university did not follow the normal process for Resource Consent but used archaic powers referred to as "fuedal-like" by NZ Herald writer Brian Rudman in order to avoid any form of public consultation.
HAUS spokesperson Megan Hall stated: "There is considerable doubt over the legality of these powers and whether the university has the right to excercise powers which place it above and beyond the regulations that govern business and private developers."