9: A Gateway Village for Matiatia

Day 9

What if Matiatia had an island village to match its natural beauty?

Why do people seek to polarise ideas and pitch one thing against another in arguing for the things they want and care about? A natural human tendency perhaps but particularly unhelpful when dealing with the complex web of relationships that make up our urban areas or any ecology outside the city.

To equate all green with good and any development with bad is not a helpful or tenable position to take in discussing how Auckland show grow.

Periodic debates around the future of Matiatia on Waiheke Island are an example of this. Who said you can’t retain the things people love about its natural character and also add complementary uses that provide things people want and enjoy? Wouldn’t that be a good use of what is highly modified but under-utilised land? Wouldn’t that also be a good aspiration for so many places in Auckland and across New Zealand that are blessed by natural beauty and high ecological values but are also inhabited by people?


Matiatia Ferry (Image credit: Craig https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigsyd/)


Wai Kitchen, Oneroa – Strong design in a strong environment (Image credit: Sydney https://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeonauckland/ )

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  1. Because the majority of people believe that buildings should “blend in” with the environment and existing buildings, i.e. they shouldn’t be noticed. It’s not my point of view, and probably isn’t that of most people here, but it’s a valid view.

    1. Ah, exactly! But this is the most dangerous idea of them all. Folded in there is an assumption that all building is evil, or offensive, or always a violation. The worlds greatest cities and human constructions are not built with this starting point. They are conceived with the idea that improvement of the current state of things can be made, and therefore must be. Perhaps we are just so impressed with the natural world here that we somehow have failed to develop a culture of valuing high quality building? The problem with this thought is that it means we have become careless builders; no building can be better than a paddock so any old shit will do. Actually paint it green and brown then it’ll ‘blend in’, there that’s as good as it gets. Now, you’ll be needing a highway and the carpark for that cheap pile of shite…..

    2. I see no reason for developing a village at matiatia – but it should be noted there’s no need for the village to even try to look good.

      Matiatia is literally just a couple hundred car parking spaces. It has all the natural beauty of the cbd. No, scratch that. At least the cbd has some urban design.

  2. What exactly would you propose for Matiatia? What is broken and what would you be fixing?
    Oneroa the second photo is a quick bus, car / decent walk, bike up the hill.
    One is the wharf and access, one is the town centre (well the major one of say 4) on the island.
    I don’t see anything wrong with developing Matiatia but is it really a priority / best place?

  3. What is most offensive about Matiatia are at the huge carparks. It shows that the islands bus system isn’t working otherwise commuters wouldn’t need to use their cars to access the ferries and pay for parking each day .
    I use the island’s buses regularly and they are such clapped out filthy old wrecks and I often wonder about their safety.

  4. Would there be any commercial point to create an ‘Gateway Village’ at Matiatia. What exactly do you propose?
    The main current, and foreseeable future, use for Matiatia is as a transport hub.
    There has been suggestions to have restaurant facilities at Matiatia but who would use them? Why would patrons come from the city when it would cost $35.00 and 1.5 hrs per head return. Time and money much better spent downtown.
    The reason that there is carparking at Matiatia is because it is a transport hub. Do you also recommend a village at, say, Albany bus transfer station?

    1. A transport hub by it’s very nature has thousands of people nearby. Noticed the development around the Britomart transport hub? Seen the food and shopping at the airport?
      And I would say the bus station at Albany is the ideal place for developing a village in the Albany area.

  5. its a cold windswept valley that doesnt get much sun. far better as a natural landscape once the carparks are removed
    It is also quite nice to arrive at an island by sea and NOT see a village . We have got enough urban already in Auckland

  6. Waiheke development needs to be the decision of Waiheke people, not those that live off the island but wish to capitalise on it in various ways. Your comments above reflect a view of Waiheke as “just another part of Auckland”, which it is not and never wanted to be.

  7. Why would anyone want a village at Matiatia? Its where you get on and off the ferry and its freezing and windy most of the time. Who would pay $36 to ferry over in rough seas in winter just to sit in the cold at the wharf? What a bizarre suggestion this is!

    1. Nick R. – The transport hub that is Matiatia has 8500 people living beyond it not many at it …. must be a good reason.
      Nemisis.- The carpark is part of the Waiheke Island transport network. Try suggesting to those in the North Shore that the parking be removed at the bus stations. The Matiatia parking is paid for by the users unlike that elsewhere.

      1. Yes there is a very good reason, the zoning currently makes it illegal to build houses or live at matiatia proper, and severely limits the ability to build houses in the surrounding ‘rural’ zone hills. In fact they only thing that you can do under that zoning in have carparks and car rental yards, not surprisingly that’s exactly what is there.

        1. Or an even simpler reason – not many people want to live there when there is better locations on the island.
          This proposal is really a solution waiting for a problem.
          I do agree, however, that the rental cars should be located elsewhere as their rent is clearly massively less than the other users pay.

          1. How do you know not many people want to live there, it’s impossible to tell as long as living there is illegal.

            My guess is if you freed up the regulations stacks of people would build at Matiatia.

  8. Exactly why would ‘stacks of people’ build at Matiatia?
    They may build but not live there.
    There is somewhere in the range of 6000 subdivided sections on Waiheke. The resident population is approx 8500 and has not risen markedly since the last census. One of the main limiting factors to population growth is the amount of well paid on island work resulting in a large number of commuting residents. The limiting factor to commuting is the high transport cost resulting in a limit on the number of people that move to the island when for the same cost they can live well in Auckland without the limiting factors of an island. Waiheke is definitely a lifestyle choice which is not for all, many try it then find out after a couple of years its restrictions and leave.

    1. To live by the water 40 mins from downtown. Coastal property is very popular, and much of it is far more removed from the city. Stacks of people live in Maraetai and Whangaparaoa for example.

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