Thoughts about the proposals for the Ngāio tree reserve area

The Māpua Waterfront Area Masterplan Working Group is circulating for discussion 3 new ideas/concepts for the open public area between Golden Bear and the Wharf in Māpua. The Working Group will consider responses from the stakeholder members to these proposals at the next meeting of the group on 19th November. (Editor’s note  after you read this post, if you wish to comment yourself, or reply to other comments,, keep scrolling down the page – you’ll eventually arrive at the comments entry fields)
3 proposals
Here are some of our preliminary thoughts from your executive (us!) . Please let us know what you think by commenting on this post or   sending us an email , which Graeme can then take  to the 19th of Nov meeting.
The Wharf area is a unique identifier for Mapua. It is a busy place we take for granted day in and day out – but we could use the new developments there to be celebrating the diverse history and connection to many centuries of human habitation. The Wharf  is well know for  its role in the successful fruit businesses that underpinned Māpua, but the land itself holds many stories. Research and recent digging at the site for the newer buildings and services of  Shed 4   turned up a rich archeological field of burial sites, midden areas, fire sites and shells, reflecting centuries of human habitation and enjoyment. Clearly the area is a key site for establishing a new, more inclusive, interpretation of this site, recognizing  iwi narratives and design that reflects our bicultural aspirations.
This space is also the place where the visual language of the landscaping, artworks, and interpretation are established for the project as a whole across the Mapua Waterfront. We are creating an amenity that will reflect these shared cultural values and is not tethered to any one approach.
The designs from TDC are a mixture of paved and seating areas, grass areas and plantings ensures all weather resilience of the facility. From the Friends of MApua Waterfront  executive perspective,  #1  above, the ‘Waka’ shaped design best fits the brief. This could then be enhanced with new interpretive panels, pō and furniture design to really connect this site to its deeper past.
Further to the exciting progress on this project, the group has made other recommendations and submissions about parking and lighting. The Tahi street paddock is going to be set up as a carpark for summer with new signage and delineation plus big spaces for the boat trailers from Grossi Point launching. Low height light bollards are to installed on Waterfront Park pathways shortly.
Please feel free to send feedback to our group via  email ,

13 thoughts on “Thoughts about the proposals for the Ngāio tree reserve area

  1. I think its really important to have an area family’s can enjoy within the wharf precinct. With the new layout since losing the aquarium there is not much on offer for families to enjoy as a group. The space in front of the golden beer needs to be kept as a green space. As much green as they can fit in so families have an option where it doesn’t involve spending money each time they visit the wharf. Picnic tables, a coin opearated bbq and drinking fountain. Currently the wharf area seems to be about socialising with a drink, this green space should not be about that. The shaft used to have a more family feel. This seems to have been lost


  2. Hi John
    There are so many great comments already noted. We have three children aged 4, 7 & 9 and have lived locally for the past 2.5 years.
    Knowing I was going to be commenting, I sat and pondered the area a bit yesterday while two of my children and their friends played in the tree and others were playing handball on the concrete area outside the restaurants / shops.
    I think the comment by a few people regarding the importance of making an overall plan for the full Mapua wharf site is crucial to get the overall area working successfully.
    For the area by the tree and the Golden Beer, it seems to be children/families using the picnic tables for picnics/fish & chips; children using the climbing tree; people accessing the beach; those using the ferry (which I think tends to be an older demographic, many without children).
    From looking at options 1 – 3, no. 1 & no. 3 appeal the most. It seems both areas have similar grass areas but in a different shape? I think number 1 would cater for the various groups of people that utilise the area.
    I am unaware if the plan is for the Rabbit Island ferry to continue to use the site it currently does. If it does – I think it’s important there is some seating, cover/shade for rain & shine for those waiting for the ferry or just arriving from the ferry and also some visual boards – history of the area, apple industry, boating use, other aspects as you noted in your comments. It would be neat if there could be one of images of children/families using the tree from the past maybe?
    Perhaps there can be more of an entranceway up from the beach (an arch of sorts? Something appropriate for the area culturally). Maybe something welcoming people to Mapua / Mapua Wharf area?

    Provide dog bags/bin by accessway to the beach. It might be a good place to have an info board on the birds/plants that live in the area?
    Shift the rubbish bins and bike racks so they are visible but not right in the middle of the area
    Extend the grass area – there is so much concrete and not much grass for people to sit on or children to play on.
    You could mark out some hand ball courts (or similar games) where parking signage is not required as another play option?
    It would be good to try to reduce the speed of some of the cars that come into the ‘pedestrian’ area
    I hope this is of help.
    Kind regards
    Liz Ussher


  3. I am excited they are looking at this space – however this space links to other spaces and they need to consider all the spaces and the interdependencies (masterplan then break into stages / phases) rather than in isolation. I would love to see the Ngio tree remain and add in some nice picnic areas where the bikers and families can enjoy fish n chips or picnics with nice plantings. Or a small fenced playground might work too – although this of course links to what is likely to happen or not happen on the other side. 🙂


    1. Nicki expanded a bit on her comment via the contact form – :

      Hi team – I am born and bread in Mapua, My husband and I live in Mapua with our three boys (5,7,10).

      I am excited they are looking at this space – however I am concerned they appear to be looking at this in isolation and it makes me shudder here we go again with a piece-meal approach.

      This space links to other spaces and they need to consider all the spaces and the interdependencies (masterplan then break into stages / phases) rather than in isolation. Do the shapes proposed here match what is planned for the other side, what about playground equipment, bbq’s etc – we are assuming they will be on the other side but we all know the risk of assuming!

      I would love to see the Nagio tree remain and add in some nice picnic areas where the bikers and families can enjoy fish n chips or picnics with nice plantings. Or a small fenced playground might work too – although this of course links to what is likely to happen or not happen on the other side. 🙂


  4. Please please please can we try to keep the area as family friendly as possible, with a focus on it being a good place to go rather than just drink.
    The Golden Bear is there just now, but who knows what will happen/be there in the future? It provides a great atmosphere with live music etc so it would be great to keep this area as a multi functional place. I think it’s important to keep paths/bike stands etc for bikes. I’d love as much grass area to be kept as possible – if not added to. It would be great to have the area to be warm and welcoming with picnic tables to sit at.
    Would it be possible to put in one of those witches hat climbing frames that are so popular with such a broad age range of children? It seems to be the piece of playground equipment that gives most bang for its buck.
    The longer we can keep people lingering round the wharf area, the more profitable an area it will become with a better vibe for everyone. We just have to ensure that there is enough for kids to do to allow parents to stay.
    I’d love to see it become a simple and welcoming place for families and friends get together and have all the facilities available for this to be possible (whilst still allowing for the passage of bikes getting to the ferry!)


  5. Hi,

    Thank you for consulting the wider community about the use of this area. We have 3 children aged 2, 5, 7.

    Having some alternative play/climbing equipment would be great. The children love climbing through and over the bike racks – even something as simple as that (but without bikes in them!) would be great. The bigger kids (4+) have the tree which is fantastic, but there is not much for the younger ones.

    Option 1 looks good with the breaking up of the grass with tiles/cobblestones. It would be good if the paved area was a loop – so children could run/scoot/bike around it or have races.

    It is not clear why there is such a big paved area by Golden Bear – is this for their future (commercial) use? There needs to be a balance between the commercial outdoor seating areas available at the wharf and the free public areas where people can picnic or have their fish and chips. I appreciate that Golden Bear allow you to eat f&c there currently, though that may change, and it requires buying drinks from them. Now that the larger picnic tables have relocated to the Rabbit Island side of the Ferry, there is not much seating in that area. I have never seen the seats that are built into the planters around the forecourt being used. It’s more picnic tables that are needed. Perhaps that area backing on to Golden Bear could be used for bike parking – out of the way of other wharf users.

    The central tree/round about in the forecourt on 1 and 2 looks good. The traffic using that forecourt (couriers particularly but also delivery trucks) can be very fast and aggressive driving in that pedestrian area.

    Having the forecourt resurfaced should also be a priority – making it safer for scooters, roller blades, walkers.

    Having a low fence between the tree and the old boat ramp I believe is essential. There is a slight slope just before the concrete sea wall and it is petrifying watching small children here. They could easily lose their balance while walking/funning/chasing seagulls and on that slope, just keep going. Even a small barrier like between the paved area and grass area here would be fine – just enough to stop kids going over accidentally.


    (JF Kathyrn posted this comment in another part of the site – I am just reposting it here)


  6. Hello

    Thanks for organising this forum. For the latest wharf development Option 3 would be my preference although I would like to see retention of public picnic tables. These offer a public space to enjoy the wharf area independent of the eateries.

    I am not in support of extending the area for the Golden Beer. I enjoy the Golden Beer and what it has to offer in it’s current location. Extending it’s area, even in a temporary arrangement, would dominate this part of the wharf for one type of use. I believe this space should remain independent for use by all as a public space. As both a patron of the Golden Beer and family user of the current independent space around the Ngaio I believe my view is a balanced one.

    I’d be happy for my comments to be added to any public forum.

    Thomas Fillary


  7. Re the plans for the Mapua waterfront area, option 3 looks the most family friendly and allows for the largest area of grass for kids to play and for families to sit and have picnics etc. The least landscaping, the most grass, the more natural, the better! Thank you Jo


  8. Two thoughts:
    1) I’m wondering whether the TDC would make the effort to go back , read through and summarize the ideas for this area that were presented last year in and around Cath McFaul’s report and the TDC survey from the previous year. I think many people have already expressed many ideas over many years …but where is the repository of those ideas so we can see how current plans take account of those suggestions?
    2) Over the last decade there have been professional consultants invovled with planning for this area, including extensive consultation with the schools, and children at the schools (those children will now be young teens) . Can we please have a public space to view those past ideas as well as some current professional landscaping advice and thoughts , starting with Heidi at Canopy …who has been closely invovled with design re-design and thining planning for so many years. I’m not aksing TDC to hire her or her company to do a professional plan* – but to speak to and with the Working Party about how to move forward for integrated play and family friendly recreational and green spaces in the three main areas along the foreshore – from Ngaio tree, through to the Wharf and possible boardwalk, through to Waterfront park.

    * but I thnk such a professional plan is going to be needed if we want to do serious fund raising – ie several hundred thousand dollars plus – to creatively and fully implement the Masterplan. Please avoid piecemeal developments for this year – build and overarching plan, and lets stage its construction over the next 5-10 years.


  9. My queries would be…what is the linkage to the other side of the wharf so it is a cohesive space? Where do bikes park? Where do families sit and watch/eat recreate? Is there more this space could provide for families? I like the atmosphere the golden beer brings to the wharf but I don’t think this space should be planned around their future use?There is no key to plan A to C so hard to decipher materials being used it needs to be soft and not all concrete as that doesn’t make you want to linger. During the summer how would a green space be maintained.


  10. This area has been a long standing area for the local children to hang out, climb the nigo tree n have there fish n chips with the family. I think this needs to be more of a focal point of this area not just a pretty garden area to walk through and some billboards about the past, stick in somthing for them like an dressed up playground that’s not the standard super bright colouring and maybe some more of the seats that are down the other end of the park next to the Apple shed and a board walk to tie it all together…


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