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Source: Auckland Council

Just over two years ago, construction of a new car park building for Takapuna got underway. The new car park, on the corner of Huron, Northcroft and Auburn streets, is now complete and will open its doors to Takapuna locals and visitors from Thursday 3 December 2020.

Marking the completion, a karakia whakawātea (blessing ceremony) took place on site on Friday 27 November, attended by those who have been part of the development. The group gathered just before dawn, joining a procession around the site led by mana whenua reciting a karakia (blessing) to cleanse the area.

A name for the car park was revealed at the ceremony. The name ‘Toka Puia’ was gifted by mana whenua. It references the volcanic rock – ‘toka’ that the spring originally flowed from – ‘puia’.

Chris Darby, North Shore Ward Councillor and Planning Committee Chair, says Toka Puia is more than a car park. It plays a key role in transitioning Takapuna for the future, reshaping it with people and wonderful public spaces in mind.

“Takapuna is a step closer to having the distinctive connected and thriving town centre it deserves, against the backdrop of Auckland’s best urban beach.

“Toka Puia’s many bike parks, electric bike charging facilities, changing rooms and electric car share vehicles (with room to add more) are a special feature of this building and set us on a positive course for the future.”

Aidan Bennett, Chair of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, says the completion is an exciting milestone for the community.

“The completion of Toka Puia is an important piece of enabling Takapuna’s future growth. Like the rest of our community, I have been looking forward to seeing the completion of the new car park with modern amenities for the shopping precinct as we work towards bringing the Takapuna town square to life.”

Toka Puia stands at five storeys with a distinctive, metallic gold lattice pattern inspired by the former gas storage and supply structure that once stood on the site. Mana whenua artworks to be installed on each floor in the coming months ensure that Toka Puia uniquely represents the place, and it’s cultural and natural histories.

The building will open to the public on 3 December, under the management of Auckland Transport.

Once open, Toka Puia will provide 420 short-stay car parks to replace the 250 parks at 40 Anzac Street, which is planned to be transformed into a new town square, shops, eateries, businesses and homes.

The car park will also provide 84 bike parks (including 28 eBike spaces), changing rooms, electric bike charging facilities, and electric car share vehicles.

Kate Cumberpatch, Priority Location Director at Panuku Development Auckland, says Toka Puia marks Panuku’s first, fully completed development as part of the Unlock Takapuna programme.

“Its build is significant to enable the revitalisation of Takapuna’s town centre as envisioned in the Takapuna Framework plan of 2017. The provision of this purpose-built parking facility means we can now turn our attention to creating a safe, accessible and vibrant town centre in the heart of Takapuna.”

Relocating car parking from the middle of the town centre to the perimeter (200m, a 3-5 minute walk) will support economic activity in the town centre by creating more spaces for people, events, markets and outdoor dining.

Roger Freakley, Manager of Commercial Contracts and Parking Facilities at Auckland Transport continues:

“We are looking forward to operationalising the car park and assisting with Panuku’s vision to make Takapuna’s town centre more friendly for people over cars. In time, visitors to the town centre will head straight to Toka Puia rather than trawling for on-street car parks through the town centre. The resultant reduction in congestion and noise/air pollution will make Takapuna town centre a more people-friendly environment to eat, shop, play and stay.”

The new facility is close to the bus stops on Lake Road. Further car parking at the Killarney Street car park will create choice for those coming into Takapuna to park closer to their destination, be it the beach, Hurstmere Road, or elsewhere.

The journey from Toka Puia to the town centre is another important part of the overall vision for Takapuna. A series of temporary interventions co-designed with the local community will be implemented early next year to test and trial improvements to the walking connections and street environment, with a view to install permanent improvements.

As for the remainder of the 6000 sqm Gasometer site (the car park accounts for 2500 sqm), this will eventually become a high-quality blend of shops, businesses or homes that will assist in the town centre’s future growth.

Terence Harpur, CEO of Takapuna Beach Business Association, welcomes the opening of the new car park in time for increased retail activity, summer, and the America’s Cup.

“Despite the pandemic outbreak, Takapuna’s development projects are achieving exciting momentum. The new car park building, along with improvements to Hurstmere Road already seen in the larger footpaths and kerb lines, new pedestrian crossings, stone walls, seating and lights will create a strong retail environment, more al fresco dining, and an area centred around pedestrians.”

MIL OSI New Zealand News