By John Subritzky
The last 12 months have been quite rough – even in our part of paradise. This time last year, New Zealand was crashed into a strange new existence of a hard lock down. Now we are far more confident after Covid has been well managed, that there is light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines. We are learning to live with it and hopefully soon, to move on.
While there have been delays, there is still ongoing progress in the Whau. Most of the current momentum is happening in Avondale with some big-ticket items progressing through the planning stages towards a start. Panuku will be seeking feedback on the new Avondale Library and Community Centre. Kāinga Ora has several projects underway that will deliver 950 new homes in Avondale (as well as hundreds more in New Lynn, New Windsor and other suburbs). Avanda Group is progressing its project at The Yards, New Lynn.
There are big infrastructure projects moving along as well. The $42m Wolverton Culverts project is not very sexy but will protect against future storm damage and disruption. Likewise, the Central Interceptor tunnel reaching into the Whau, will help clean up water pollution at beaches. After years of talk and numerous accidental falls, Avondale Mainstreet has had stage 1 of the slippery bricks replacement completed.
More exciting is the $44m New Lynn to Avondale Shared pathway opening this winter. It is a completely new travel option that is mainly off street. The Te Whau coastal pathway has also been given the green light.
Global hardship: It’s not a new thing
Our forebears also faced challenges with sickness and wars that shut the world down for years. WWI was big in Avondale, with the Maori Pioneer Battalion and the Tunneling Corps among others training at Avondale Racecourse. In 1918 the flu pandemic killed about 9,000 kiwis in a few short months. The grief over war and flu deaths must have been overwhelming. In this edition, we cover military training in Avondale in WWII. Things got real at that time with the treat of imminent invasion. Avondale was even the site of a POW camp for Japanese for a while. I will be leading a walk on ANZAC Day afternoon looking at the military history of Avondale.
The RSAs are hoping that they will be able to parade and have services on ANZAC Day for the first time in two years, after the March 15 attack and then Covid last year, where all we could do was participate in the “Stand at Dawn” event. There are even races at Avondale Racecourse for the family to enjoy. Yes, it has been a difficult 12 months, but the future is looking brighter.