18 May 2022
The Te Auaunga Awa flood mitigation project has won the International Public Works Conference (IPWEA) Awards for Excellence in Environment and Sustainability at IPWEA’s conference in Adelaide.
Auckland Regional Manager James Weller said the Fulton Hogan team made the project a case study of creating, connecting and caring for communities.
“In addition to a challenging engineering project, it was one of the first to focus on social outcomes – connecting with the community, mana whenua, local students, and bringing on school leavers into our team.”
Te Auaunga – or ‘swirling waters’ – is Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s longest uninterrupted urban stream. Converted into a 1.3 km concrete channel in the 1930s, neighbouring houses and parkland became flood prone.
The team started in late 2016 with ambitious environmental, social, cultural, economic and housing goals, in addition to road and pedestrian bridges, a river park and stream restoration. Working closely with Auckland City Council, mana whenua and the community, the project team restored the waterway’s Mauri (life force) by enhancing water quality, eco-systems, and wildlife.
This included propagating and planting 120,000 native plants, providing jobs and training for local unemployed people, created a māra hūpara (Māori playground) from ancient swamp kauri stumps, a community fāle (open sided house) and outdoor education zone for local senior groups, schools, ethnic and youth groups and created better physical connections, linking Wesley with Owairaka via a new pedestrian bridge, and with the Waterview shared use path.
Te Auaunga has already won more than 10 awards, including the 2021 NZ IPWEA Engineering Impact Award for a ‘project that delivered enormous value and impact to a community, a country or an organisation’.