It is an important time in Papatoetoe’s history right now – a time for people who call this wonderful historic place home, as I once did, to shape its exciting future.
Your local Board is asking you all to have your say in not only what changes and developments you would like to see in the immediate future, but also in the next three decades.
Growing up in Papatoetoe certainly shaped my future. I have my fondest memories growing up with my four sisters and brother, organising the backyard Cricket and Rugby games with our neighbours.
These years formed the base for my early interest in the community.
My teachers at Papatoetoe Intermediate were the most influential in my school life. They opened my eyes up to the wider world and tweaked my social conscience. They were pivotal in bringing out the sense of community compassion and the desire for community change at a local level.
That sense of community is as strong as ever today in Papatoetoe and the Council is committed to ensuring that continues to strengthen.
The area is of great historical significance to Auckland – much of which was celebrated in 2012, when Papatoetoe celebrated its 150 years of civic life. I hope that you have taken the time to enjoy the Heritage Trail, which was completed last year.
The trail acknowledges aspects of Maori and colonial histories in the area. It identifies a range of foundation buildings and areas including the Tamaki River, the Great South Road, Hunters Corner and Old Papatoetoe to the Kohuora wetlands.
This trail features a selection of heritage sites and well-known landmarks that help us to understand and honour Papatoetoe’s rich history and great community spirit.
Today, the area is equally rich with a mix of cultures.
The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board area is of special significance to Auckland’s Indian community. The area is now home 15,459 Indian people according to the latest Census (2013), an impressive 65% increase in the Indian population since 2006.
This is what I love most about our City; the sheer dynamism that the mix of cultures brings. Auckland is enriched with a unique energy, creativity and diversity for it.
It is time to look forward and August is a very significant month for the Papatoetoe community to have its say on planning for the future.
Submissions close at 5 pm on August 6 on the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Plan.
The plan is the strategic three-year document, which gives direction to the priorities and preferences of the community.
It is an exciting time for Otara-Papatoetoe with major developments and initiatives planned, including the revitalisation of Old Papatoetoe and Hunters Corner town centres.
The Plan is to improve roads around the town centres, footpaths, parks, public art, libraries, community centres and halls, further improving their general appearance, convenience and sense of public safety.
In particular, the Plan is to build on Old Papatoetoe’s railway town heritage and continue to develop Hunters Corner as a sports and entertainment hub.
This is your chance to influence the initiatives your local board will focus on for the next three years and beyond.
Draft Area Plan
Later in the month, submissions close on the Draft Area Plan for Otara-Papatoetoe, looking further into the future and designed to support the future growth and development of the area for the next five to 30 years.
The draft area plan identifies a vision and nine key moves or opportunities for significant change in the area over the next three decades, and will consider the following themes: heritage, natural environment, town centres, business and recreation, transport and infrastructure.
It will help to achieve Otara-Papatoetoe’s vision of being the most livable community in Auckland. Submission on the Draft Area Plan close at 5 pm on August 17.
For more information, please visit www.shapeauckland.co.nz where you can find a Hindi translation of the Board plan, plus information on community meetings at which you can meet with your local Board members to find out more.
I encourage you to make the most of both of these important opportunities to have your say on the Papatoetoe you want for you and your family’s future.
Len Brown is Mayor of Auckland City. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink.