School up the creek
WHEN is a creek not a creek?
That’s the question puzzling children and staff from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Nga Maungarongo after plans to build a block of Housing New Zealand units next to their school.
If the development goes ahead, a section of Meola Creek will be moved to make way for a road and carpark.
The Haverstock Rd school in Sandringham is close to Meola Creek and 19 state houses.
Housing NZ wants to remove the homes and replace them with a 40-unit development.
The section of Meola Creek bordering the site is piped underground, but there is still water on the creek bed.
The school objects because the creek has historical significance to the area and the children identify with it.
Principal Dianne Pomare says as long as water can be seen, it is still a creek and should be treated that way.
“There’s no advantage to us in any of this,” she says.
“This used to be a peaceful, running stream and people would get puha and watercress from it, but now Housing New Zealand and the Auckland Regional Council is declaring it’s nothing.”
The school argued its case at a resource consent hearing on the issue last week.
Ms Pomare says the pro- posed development will put too much pressure on Haverstock Rd.
She is worried it will cause parking and traffic problems.
Ms Pomare is also concerned the noise and dust from the development will disrupt the children.
“It’s going to be 18 months of noise, dust, banging trucks and roadblocks.”
But regional council stormwater and sediment manager Roger Bannister says because the creek is piped underground, it is not classified as a waterway.
“In the area of the Haverstock Rd development, Meola Creek doesn’t exist,” he says.
Mr Bannister says the only time the creek bed would have water in it is after significant rainfall, so moving it is a permitted activity.
Housing NZ acting regional manager for central Auckland Walid Ahmed says the Haverstock Rd site is considered appropriate because it is close to shops and public transport.
He says Housing NZ has met with the school on several occasions and will take their concerns into consideration.
If the project proceeds, steps will be taken to minimise disruption to the school and its pupils, he says.
A decision on the resource consent is expected within a few weeks.
Unimpressed: Children from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Nga Maungarongo do not want to see their creek bed moved to make way for a Housing New Zealand development. From left: Rongopai Brady, Rikihana Tapiata, Lucy Culleton, Tiana Carter-Stil, Samara Stil and principal Dianne Pomare.