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Source: Auckland Council

With the recent opening of Toka Puia car park in Takapuna, shoppers, residents and businesses have embraced the new facility with enthusiasm over the holiday period.

As Toka Puia is only a few minutes’ walk from the bustling Takapuna centre, it’s a fantastic parking option for a variety of transportation.

Terence Harpur, CEO of Takapuna Beach Business Association, says the new car park has been a welcome addition to Takapuna this summer:

“Takapuna’s development projects are achieving exciting momentum. The new car park building, along with improvements to Hurstmere Road have created a wonderful environment for shoppers, visitors and residents to enjoy the beach vibe and city rhythm that Takapuna is famous for.”

Toka Puia provides 420 short-stay car parks securing the future transport needs of the town centre as these spaces will replace the 250 parks at 40 Anzac Street which will eventually be redeveloped into to new public space, homes, businesses and eateries.

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Chris Darby, North Shore Ward Councillor and Planning Committee Chair, says Toka Puia is more than a car park. It plays a key role in transitioning Takapuna for the future, reshaping it with people and wonderful public spaces in mind.

“Takapuna is a step closer to having the distinctive connected and thriving town centre it deserves, against the backdrop of Auckland’s best urban beach.

“Toka Puia’s flexible and multi-use nature are a special feature of this building, with its many bike parks, electric bike charging facilities, changing rooms and electric car share vehicles (with room to add more).”

Aidan Bennett, Chair of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board continues:

“The opening of Toka Puia marks further progress for our growing centre, freeing up precious space for a new town square and development that will serve the community for years to come, while ensuring Takapuna’s current and future parking needs are well looked after.”

Not only does Toka Puia enable the future development of a people-friendly centre, the design and infrastructure of this building also reflects the original gas storage facility situated on site and built in 1915.

The golden lattice pattern that adorns the external facade of Toka Puia pays homage to the patterns on the historical gas facility.

Internally, the walls of Toka Puia are a canvas for artwork depicting the indigenous history of Takapuna, guided by the storytelling of mana whenua. These creative works are being crafted by mana whenua-nominated artists Tessa Harris and Graham Tipene and will be installed in the coming months.

Local cultural narrative is threaded most importantly through the naming of the building itself; ‘Toka Puia’ as gifted by mana whenua. It references the volcanic rock – ‘toka’ that the spring ‘puia’ originally flowed from.

As Zaelene Maxwell-Butler of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, local mana whenua iwi shared,

“Takapuna of Maungauika (North Head) flowed from a small cave in the volcanic rock of Maungauika above Te Haukapua, known today as Torpedo Bay. The ancient spring continued to flow until circa 1900, when early Europeans dug a drainage channel beneath Maungauika, destroying the ancient puna (spring).”

On the poignant issue of seeing Māori expression and influence in the public spaces of Tāmaki Makaurau, Zaelene also says:

“Mana whenua identity has been missing from the landscape for a very long time, so opportunities like Toka Puia give mana whenua the opportunity to share our narratives, our reo and our cultural identity through design. It is important to us, to be able to show our tamariki mokopuna (children and grandchildren) our kuia kaumātua (elders), that we are still here, we are not invisible, we are important and we have our standing place, our tūrangawaewae and can be proud of who we are. To be able to see ourselves again in the landscape, is essential for the wellbeing of our people.”

Toka Puia is designed for the future needs of the community including active modes of transport, electric bike charging facilities and electric car share vehicles. But furthermore, the indigenous artwork and mana whenua narrative cloaked within the structure gives back a sense of identity to local mana whenua.

For more the details on the Toka Puia project you can watch this video to see the collaboration between Panuku Development Auckland, Auckland Transport and mana whenua to bring this building to full realisation.