Kiosk plan in ques­tion

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

MT EDEN’S old tea kiosk is be­ing re­vived, but there are fears a fo­cus on cost rather than qual­ity will leave a bad taste in vis­i­tor’s mouths.

Ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est are be­ing sought by the Auck­land City Coun­cil to re­de­velop the kiosk, for­merly known as Lang­ton’s, near the base of Maun­gawhau Mt Eden.

Re­sponses are due next Thurs­day and will help the coun­cil gauge mar­ket in­ter­est for the build­ing.

Eden Al­bert Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Chris Dempsey says the process is un­suit­able for the re­serve, which at­tracts more than one mil­lion vis­i­tors ev­ery year, be­cause it’s a “fo­cus on dol­lars sit­u­a­tion” used for as­sets like foot­paths and swim­ming pools.

“Maun­gawhau is a spe­cial site, but if the ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est and sub­se­quent ten­der­ing process fo­cuses on low­est cost, what peo­ple may only re­mem­ber is the luke­warm flat white and the stodgy muf­fin.”

Mr Dempsey is invit­ing coun­cil of­fi­cers to come to this month’s board meet­ing to re­view the process, which he thinks has the po­ten­tial to drive off in­ter­ested small cafe own­ers.

“With all the pa­per­work in­volved, the only peo­ple left are the big com­pa­nies. It’s a clas­sic mo­nop­oly up there on the moun­tain, you’re cap­tive.

“We want the coun­cil to get the com­mu­nity board and iwi to open it to­gether, think about it to­gether, dis­cuss it to­gether and sort it out to­gether or else we could wind up with an in­ap­pro­pri­ate ven­dor who could down­grade the visit to a re­ally aw­ful food ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mr Dempsey says.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board spokesman Ngarimu Blair says the board was con­sulted be­fore the coun­cil asked for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est.

Al­though it strongly ob­jected to the process, the coun­cil con­tin­ued with it, he says.

“We hold a de­sire to bet­ter ex­press man­aak­i­tanga (care of guests) on all the moun­tains and find it in­cred­i­ble that the coun­cil might uni­lat­er­ally grant a com­mer­cial lease to a pri­vate com­pany to tell our sto­ries with their lat­tes.

“The process makes no sense here.”

The tribe’s trust board will send a let­ter to mayor John Banks out­lin­ing their con­cerns and re­mind­ing the coun­cil of their obli­ga­tions to co-man­age the moun­tain with lo­cal iwi.

Coun­cil arts, cul­ture and recre­ation com­mit­tee chair­man Greg Moyle says he in­sti­gated the process af­ter Ngati Whatua chose not to par­tic­i­pate and says of­fi­cers need a ba­sis for dis­cus­sion to move for­ward.

“It’s about com­ing up with a pro­posal to pre­serve this build­ing and make sure it’s prop­erly used.”

Mr Moyle says the coun­cil is open to the right pro­posal and if Ngati Whatua wants to run a ven­ture on the moun­tain he’d be de­lighted.

“It’s not about mak­ing money, what we’re try­ing to do is not lose money. We don’t want to op­er­ate it but do­ing noth­ing is not an op­tion. It’s not a quick fix but hope­fully some­thing will come out of this that all can par­tic­i­pate in.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Cafe Maun­gawhau: The coun­cil’s push to re­de­velop the tea kiosk on Mt Eden has left in­ter­est groups and lo­cal Maori unim­pressed.

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