Environmental priorities in the Whau

The Whau is a Local Board area in West Auckland that stretches from Waterview, through Avondale and New Lynn to Blockhouse Bay and Green Bay. It is an area filled with ecological riches through the Whau River and estuary to the Green Bay beaches on the Manukau Harbour. However, many of these ecological areas are degraded and in need of restoration.

The Whau is one of the most culturally diverse and fastest growing areas of Auckland. Its 70,000 plus residents are 45% pakeha or European, 35% Asian, 18% Pasifika, 9% Maori and 2.5% Middle Eastern, Latin American or African. Around 42% of the population was born overseas, most commonly from China. This fast growth and cultural mix pose both challenges and possibilities for environmental and social development.

The leadership and conditions exist for the Whau area to radically improve environmental outcomes and to pioneer new ways of doing things. It has strong local community organisations and visionaries and leaders across sectors.

This leadership and innovation is critical and urgent, because local ecosystems are struggling. Water quality in the Whau is very poor, weeds and pests dominate, biodiversity and habitat is low level, littering and dumping is an issue and environmentally friendly behaviour is not the norm.

The Report [pdf] presents the results of a process designed to develop for the Whau area:

  • a shared understanding of environmental issues and opportunities
  • clear environmental priorities
  • opportunities for collaborative environmental action
  • messages to the Whau Local Board on its best roles and investments to improve environmental outcomes.

The process involved reviewing relevant documents, interviewing key people and workshopping the draft findings with these people.

Key messages to the Whau Local Board included

  • Facilitate Te Whau Pathway being a collective priority for the next 10 years
  • Help make moving to zero waste a focus of collective action
  • Green the Whau and weave art and ’bumping spaces’ into the greening (placemaking)
  • Promote the Whau as a mecca for walking and cycling and a cultural capital for food, leisure and horticulture
  • Co-lead innovation in sustainability and low carbon living – showcase, demonstrate, experiment
  • Facilitate environmentally focused networks and joining up.

Download the Report [pdf].