Queen St sewer constructed round Waihorotiu in 1860. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1043-032
Queen St is one in all New Zealand’s most iconic roadways. Over a interval of over 150 years, foot/automobile visitors and companies have set themselves up in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Tāmaki Makaurau’s metropolis life.
What folks could also be unaware of nevertheless, is that an ancient awa (river) rests beneath the asphalt that has carried all the things from horse and carriage to the general public bus and Tesla automobile.
It’s referred to as Waihorotiu Stream, and is among the many streams around Auckland which have been coated in. It runs from a marsh now referred to as Aotea Sq. out to the Waitematā Harbour.
Regardless of this, it’s an awa with a protracted and detailed historical past with mana whenua and early colonial settlers, and will play an element in the way forward for Auckland CBD.
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For 1000’s of years, Te Puhinui wove its method by way of Tāmaki Makaurau, meandering its 12 kilometre stretch by way of south Auckland all the way down to the Manukau Harbour.
A brief historical past
Earlier than the primary colonial ships arrived within the Waitematā Harbour, the Waihorotiu Stream was a distinguished characteristic within the lives of mana whenua.
Close to the banks of the water lay a settlement named Ngā Wharau a Tako, which used the banks of the awa for agriculture alongside searching, fishing and gathering. The location sat on what’s now Albert, Kingston and Federal streets.
The waterway is the area of Horotiu – a mighty Taniwha, whom the stream is known as after.
In Māoridom, taniwha are often considered kaitiaki, or guardians of te taiao, or the pure world and its folks. They’re additionally seen, nevertheless, as supernatural and harmful.
Horotiu protects the stream, whereas mana whenua lived with reverence to him.
As European settlers started to colonise the world within the nineteenth century, the stream grew to become polluted as pubs and lodges alongside the river financial institution would dump uncooked sewage and waste instantly into it.
Makes an attempt to encase the river led to the creation of the Ligar Canal, which proved to be extremely unpopular. It was finally bricked over in 1860 with the intention to create a sewer down Queen St, the place it stays underground at this time.
The South Korea instance
In 2005 Seoul, capital of South Korea, dug up a busy elevated motorway to show the hidden stream beneath. It was additionally reworked right into a public house, with species of fish and birds returning to the waterway.
Known as the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project, it was reworked at a price of over 386 billion received (NZ$464m).
Pedestrians can stroll alongside it on footpaths at avenue stage, or descend stairs or ramps to the water. There are steps for sitting subsequent to the water and stepping stones for traversing it throughout 22 bridges.
Might we see Waihorotiu Stream daylighted?
In the interim, the reply is not any.
An Auckland Council spokesperson mentioned there have been no plans to sunlight the stream anytime quickly, nevertheless that didn’t imply it might simply be ignored.
“The scope of the present Queen Road improve doesn’t embrace daylighting the Waihorotiu stream, however focuses on making a extra spacious, inexperienced and people-focused avenue,” they mentioned.
”As a part of this present improve we’re acknowledging the stream by way of a brand new Waihorotiu path, giving more room to folks strolling or utilizing lively modes.”
The mahi will contain portray symbolic wayfinding patterns down Queen St.
Jenny Larking, head of metropolis centre programmes at Auckland Council, mentioned the patterns will serve two functions.
“The method is twofold: the system of floor markings alongside our new Waihorotiu path carries cultural expression of the Waihorotiu valley narrative, developed by the undertaking’s mana whenua companions, and likewise security measures for efficient operation of the trail,” she mentioned.
“Supporting the opposite wayfinding measures we’ve got constructed into the design, the markings assist outline the world of the multi-use path and supply visible delineation, guiding consumer behaviour at key areas similar to pedestrian crossings and bus boarding areas,” she mentioned.
Kaunuku designer Tahua Pihema mentioned the patterns elevate mana whenua aspirations to see themselves mirrored of their taiao (pure setting) of Tāmaki Makaurau.
Auckland councillor Chris Darby mentioned the transfer can be important for Aucklanders.
“They may allow our celebrated essential avenue to turn out to be a spot the place folks wish to store and spend time, whereas telling our tales and expressing our cultural heritage on this constructed canvas.”