Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Auckland Views: Papakura

I’ve been through Papakura several times but never stopped there—until today. Nigel had a meeting there, so I went along and had a look around.

Papakura is a district just south of the more urban parts of Auckland, with rural areas further to the south. Its 126 square kilometres are about to become part of the new Auckland, even though it’s 32kms from Auckland.

Papakura looks like it was once a prosperous service centre for the surrounding rural districts. As some of those areas have been built up, it appears that Papakura town has deteriorated.

The central business district is mainly along Great South Road (in the photo above, looking toward the town square) and adjoining streets. There are several banks and national stores located there, but most shops were discount stores, a couple outlet stores and a lot of second-hand stores. Graffiti was everywhere (including in usual places like the photo at left—look on a round part of the antenna mast—click to embiggen).

The streets were busy, partly because it was school holidays, and people seemed to be doing a lot of shopping—and buying. But I stopped in one little shopping centre were there were about four businesses, and maybe eight empty store fronts. Many shops on the streets were also empty.

There were many ethnic restaurants—Indian, Turkish and several Thai (including one that looked really nice). There was also of course, fast food places of many kinds.

The new Auckland, which Papakura will soon be part of, will be a HUGE city in area. For example, it’ll take at least an hour to drive from its southern border to its northern border—and that’s sticking to motorways. That means it’ll be something like 100km (or more) across Auckland. In all this talk of the “super city”, not much attention has gone to the sheer size of the new city.

I hope that when Papakura becomes part of that new Auckland, it’ll get some of the development (well, redevelopment) attention it needs, and not get lost and forgotten. I still don’t think it was a very good idea to include rural (or largely rural) areas in the new city, but what’s done is done. Somehow, we have to make it work for all of us.

Photo below: Along Great South Road, Papakura.

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