Study shows higher density at Hobsonville Point enhances liveability

Jun 14 2018 Community

Hobsonville Point is emerging as a positive example of how higher density housing can strengthen communities and enhance liveability.

It’s the subject of a ‘Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities’ study led by Professor Errol Haarhoff. The project is one of eleven National Science Challenges funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise.

Researchers are currently analysing a questionnaire survey, which is revealing positive sentiment among residents.

"There is a very strong appreciation of the large investments made in quality parks and public amenities," reports Professor Haarhoff.

Results also show that over 60% over children walk or bike to local schools, more than double the national average.  

In addition to the residents’ survey, the research team is conducting an analysis of topics of conversation on a closed resident Facebook page.

"The most frequent topics relate to what we see as community interactions. These need to be probed further, but it begins to suggest that beyond the construction of houses, there is an emerging a sense of community," says Professor Haarhoff.

Hobsonville Point is unusual in that it was founded on a principle of higher density living from the outset. Development agency HLC has taken a deliberate ‘amenity-first’ approach, beginning with the provision of a cafe and Farmers Market before the first homes were even built.

Professor Haarhoff says this is key to a successful higher density suburb: "What these findings demonstrate is that people are prepared to live at higher density if the neighbourhood offers a rich array of amenities, such as parks, playgrounds, cafes, and so on. This compensates for the loss of a backyard and is replaced by well designed and safe and public spaces that have a high degree of walkability."

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For a new resident’s perspective on moving from a low-density suburb to Hobsonville Point, read this recent Stuff article: Hobsonville Point high density study findings

And for some background into New Zealand’s changing attitudes to density, see this SlideShare by HLC’s Mark Fraser: Auckland’s surprising about-face on density

 

Apartment Living Attracts More Aucklanders

Jun 12 2018 New releases

Apartment living is on trend worldwide, as people opt for smaller homes, pare back their belongings and prioritise experiences over ‘things’. In Auckland, apartments in the suburbs are becoming increasingly popular as more of us opt to share quality parks with our community over a private backyard (and a bigger mortgage).

Hobsonville Point has been planned from scratch around research showing that people are more than satisfied with apartment living when their neighbourhood provides places to enjoy nature and connect with their community. Our ‘high amenity/medium density’ suburb includes 26 hectares of parks, two new schools, a popular coastal walkway, and a new multi-million dollar waterfront development complete with waterfront dining, farmers market and a craft brewery.

A number of new apartments will be completed at Hobsonville Point this year, and they’re available for sale off the plans now. To find out more, download the brochure.

Ngai Tahu Property Axis release - Stage 3

May 17 2018 Axis Series

Ngai Tahu Property has released  following Axis Series homes in Kerepeti: 

(Please note updated dwelling options)

Stage Three Dwelling Options:

Option 1: $450,000

7 x 1 bed 1 bath walk up (levels 1 and 2) Kerewhenua

2 x 1 bed 1 bath apartment Uku

1 x 1 bed 1 bath apartment Kerewhenua 

Option 2: $500,000:

4 x 1 bed 1 bath walk up Kerewhenua

2 x 1 bed 1 bath apartments Uku

Option 3: $600,000

1 x 3 bed 2 bath terrace house, Kerewhenua

For more information about these homes and how to enter a ballot please visit https://kerepeti.co.nz/about-kerepeti/axis/ or contact Catherine Lister on axisseries@kerepeti.co.nz or 021 430 351.

Entries for the ballot close at 5pm Thursday 31st May 2018, with the ballot being held on Friday 1 June 2018. 

Innovative new provider of built-to-rent homes seeks local property manager for Hobsonville Point

May 16 2018 Community

New Ground Living’s mission is to trigger an evolution in New Zealand’s residential rental market by delivering high quality homes to individuals and families looking for secure, long term rental options.

Managing Director Brian Collins says, “Our approach to renting homes will be a breath of fresh air to New Zealand tenants. Our goal is to be the landlord of choice for Kiwi households seeking security of tenure in a modern, healthy and secure home.”

Hobsonville Point will be one of the first NZ communities to enjoy this innovative approach to rental housing. Forty-seven New Ground Living rental homes – a mixture of one, two and three bedroomed terraced homes and apartments - will shortly be coming to the market in our fast-growing suburb.

The homes will be professionally managed and leased with flexible longer terms of up to seven years, providing clients with security of tenure, predictability around rent expenses, and stability of schooling for children; and allowing tenants to make their houses their homes.

An important element to the success of this new approach will be a locally-based, customer focussed property manager. New Ground Living are looking for an experienced, energetic person based in Auckland’s North West to service New Ground’s portfolio and client base in Hobsonville Point and Whenuapai. The role is flexible and could be full or part-time. If you’re interested, please contact Brian Collins at brian@newground.co.nz.

And if you’d like to register as an interested tenant for the upcoming New Ground properties please click here.

Universal Axis release

May 2 2018 Axis Series

Universal Homes is releasing the following terraced homes in superlot TU1, Te Uru precinct:

 4 x 3 bedroom homes priced at $650,000 each

Please visit www.axisseries.co.nz/how-to-buy/ for more information on the purchasing criteria and how to enter a ballot.

Entries for the ballot close 4pm Wednesday 23 May 2018, with the ballot being held on Thursday 24 May 2018.

To learn more about these homes please visit the Universal Homes showhomes at Hobsonville Point or contact:

Marie Hansen – marieh@universal.co.nz, 021 998 301

Lisa Fleming – lisaf@universal.co.nz; 021 679 674

Steve Lindsay – stevel@universal.co.nz; 021 963 978

Shelley Clark – shelleyc@universal.co.nz; 021 896 987

New Axis Series release by Fletcher Living

Apr 20 2018 Axis Series

 Fletcher Living is releasing 1 x 2 bedroom terraced home for $450,000 in superlot CA16, Catalina precinct.

 Please visit www.axisseries.co.nz/how-to-buy/ for more information on the purchasing criteria and how to enter a ballot.

 Entries for this ballot close 5pm Monday 7th May 2018, with the ballot being held on Tuesday 8th May 2018.

 To learn more about this completed home and arrange a viewing please visit the Fletcher Living showhome at 7 Peihana Road, Hobsonville Point or contact one of our Fletcher’s representatives,

 Christina Tubman – 027 334 4752

Dene Moss-Mason – 021 567 100

Top architects called to design coastal homes

Apr 10 2018 Development

Two of the building companies that are working at Hobsonville Point will soon be releasing plans for a number of large, luxurious coastal homes that make the most of the north facing land and harbour and bush views along the peninsula’s edge. These homes will connect directly to the coastal walkway.

Both Jalcon Homes and Classic Builders have shoulder tapped some of the city’s best architects to design these homes. Classic has commissioned three top architectural practices – Isthmus, Sils van Bohemen and Bossley Architects – to design six homes each. Jalcon is working with Stevens Lawson architects. In Bossley Architects’ ‘Headland Houses’ terraced gardens provide a place to sit and enjoy the views of the coastal scenery while providing privacy from the walkway.

Each house has excellent sun as well as shelter from the prevailing winds. With floor plans of up to 250 square metres, four bedrooms, two living rooms, multiple bathrooms and a double garage, these are big homes that make the most of their coastal setting. The location puts their owners just a five minute walk from Catalina Bay’s shops and restaurants via the Coastal Walkway.

To read more, download the brochure.

 

Catalina Bay: Where Old Meets New

Apr 5 2018 Development

One of the best things about Hobsonville Point is that its fascinating history gives it a unique character. The area was not only a military base, it was also the birthplace of the commercial aviation industry in New Zealand.

We’ve worked hard to preserve as much of the history as we possibly can – retaining original streets, mature trees, homes and aircraft hangars dating back to the late 1920s – while balancing the commercial viability of the project.

Although it would have more economical in the short term to ‘start afresh’ we believe that building the new community ‘on the bones of the old’ as one resident so nicely put it, brings long term social benefits. Heritage lends continuity and authenticity and contributes to a sense of belonging – a basic human need.  

Retaining heritage is not the easy option. Eighty years of use by the armed forces has left Hobsonville Point with dozens of houses and buildings in various stages of disrepair. It hasn’t been possible to keep everything, for a variety of reasons. Often the cost of replacing unsafe materials is too high.

Willis Bond’s project director for Catalina Bay sums up the challenge well. “In order to save the best we have to sacrifice the substandard. Auckland has done a poor job of maintaining heritage. What we’ve got left we absolutely must preserve for future generations. The critical task is to identify the best and figure out how to keep that.”

Silver say that Willis Bond preserves heritage buildings by adapting them for modern day use. “Buildings need a use that is relevant today and a commercial value which underpins the cost of the restoration. If the project is not economically sustainable, then who pays for the building? Either the taxpayer or rate payer pays, or the building slips into disuse and its future becomes uncertain. “

Willis Bond is in the process of adapting five heritage buildings on the Catalina Bay waterfront now. “It’s much harder and more expensive to refurbish than build from scratch. You need an architect that’s sensitive to the character of the building and a builder that has pride in the work. It’s an activity of love.” 

Here’s a little background on the heritage buildings being restored at Catalina Bay:

 

The Armoury

Now: In part, the Catalina Bay Farmers Market

Military Use: Storing weapons when not in use on aircraft, then later a machine shop and the Armament Engineering Section.

New Use: Farmers Market / Restaurant

Status: Open and humming

Willis Bond will also be announcing a new restaurant soon. Keeping your eye on Hobsonville Point’s Facebook page is the best way to keep up to date.

 

The Seaplane Hangar

Now: Catalina Workshops

Military Use: Housing and maintenance of seaplanes and the home of the Fairey IIIF, Walrus and Cutty Sark. Stored and serviced boats belonging to the Marine Section and housed marine fitters. Also accommodated the Instrument Bay, Electrical Bay, safety equipment, then later, the Metal shop and Woodwork shop and stores.

New Use: Commercial space

Status: Complete and partially leased.

The Seaplane Hangar has been transformed into an industrial chic office space. Willis Bond locked the giant hanger doors open and stripped back a large portion of the cladding to reveal the intricate steel structure. The steelwork was renovated and glazed with glass commissioned in the United States to take advantage of the harbour views.

 

The Sunderland Hangar

Now: Little Creatures NZ

Aviation Use: Servicing TEAL’s two Short Empire flying boats. Later housed the Engine Fitters and the Catalina seaplanes.

Wartime Use: Repair depot for Walrus seaplanes. Later used to service the RNZAF’s giant Sunderland seaplanes

New Use: Micro-brewery, restaurant and office space

Status: Estimated completion Christmas 2018

OK, it doesn’t look flash now, but you wait! We had to strip the hangar back to its bare bones to get rid of the old cladding which contained asbestos. Over the course of 2018 it will be reclad and reborn as the NZ home of Little Creatures. The new corrugated iron exterior will be painted in military greys featuring a striped pattern that was used as camouflage by sea craft to deflect radar from above. A glass frontage will look through to brewery vats. The Sunderland Hangar’s gigantic doors will open onto a public plaza where you’ll be able to sit and look at the harbour.

 

The Fabric Bay

Now: Fabric

Military Use: Initially the Marine Section. Personnel were trained and at times ate and slept there too. The Marine Section made and serviced moorings, serviced the seaplanes, towed targets for aircraft and army training. Later uses included a cafeteria and storeroom.

New Use: Café and Bistro

Status: Expected to open May 2018

The Fabric Bay has been given a new life as Fabric, bringing a sophisticated vibe to the waterfront with its menu built around seasonal, locally grown produce. Luke and Melissa Shore are locals and experienced hospo operators. They say they'll be open from 7am till late from early June. The new deck over the water makes the most of the upper harbour and bush views.  

 

The GRP

Military Use: Formerly the Flying Wing Headquarters where Sunderland Aircrew were trained, including Technical Instruction, and later, the Glass Reinforced Plastics (fibreglass) workshop.

New Use: Office space

Status: Almost complete and leasing now

This striking two-storey, concrete masonry building with its exposed steel trusses and giant steel windows is almost ready to be occupied at the time of writing. It would suit a service-related business wanting a high-profile building, such as real estate company, architectural, legal or accounting practice. It has a 4m and 7m stud height and harbour views.

 

Auckland’s Changing Attitude to Big Backyards

Apr 5 2018 Development

As Auckland intensifies to make space for its growing population, homebuyers are being asked to rethink the suburban dream of a big backyard – and finding some unexpected benefits to living a more compact life.

One of the things that makes living in Auckland fairly unique compared to other large cities around the world is that few Aucklanders are more than half an hour's drive from some wilderness, whether it be bush or beach. The Auckland isthmus is only 2kms wide at its narrowest point. Our topography is both a blessing and a constraint, however, and the Unitary Plan is aimed at ensuring the city can expand without covering the wide open spaces we all treasure with housing.

At Hobsonville Point residents are embracing higher housing densities than in many established suburbs. The homes are closer together and section sizes smaller than the suburbs that were developed in the 1960s and 70s. The density is modelled on our early suburbs like Freeman’s Bay. Private outdoor space is more likely to be a balcony, courtyard or 'outdoor room' than a large lawn. What Hobsonville Point offers instead of "half a footy field within your fence-line," says Caroline McDowall, Precinct Director for HLC, is plenty of public parks and green spaces residents can walk to. "It's about using our land better by putting green space into public hands where it can be shared and enjoyed by everyone."

The township has 26ha of parks and reserves, ranging from pocket parks that form the shared backyard for a group of houses, through to the 13ha Onekiritea (Bomb Point) Park. The suburb has been masterplanned from scratch and the designers have linked up all the parks with a 4.9km green walkway so that residents can walk or cycle from park to park via what is effectively a park also.

The walkability factor is important. We know from studies worldwide that spending time in nature significantly lowers stress and improves your mood and energy levels. Research also tells us that positive mental health outcomes from visiting the park were "significantly related to distance." So, to get the benefits from living near the park it has to be close enough that you'll visit regularly.

Anecdotal evidence from Hobsonville Point residents backs up research that shows that parks increase what's called 'social capital' by providing places to meet and interact, and by strengthening people’s sense of attachment to their neighbourhood. In short, people meet other members of the community at the park and are happier and healthier for it.

"This is a very functional, friendly community and we know that good design has helped make it that way. There's no reason why these design principles can't be applied to Auckland's existing suburbs as we intensify," says Caroline. "It's also encouraging to note how many of the locals have said that moving here has freed up the weekends to get out in nature and see friends, rather than staying home to mow the lawn."

 

Airfields

Apr 5 2018 Development

We were thrilled to see the first home completed in the new Airfields precinct late last year. This is an important milestone for what will eventually be a neighbourhood comprising almost 900 homes. Airfields is owned by Auckland Council’s urban regeneration agency, Panuku Development Auckland. They’ve teamed up with developers, AVJennings to create Stage One (102 homes). Airfields is being developed to a master plan that balances and harmonises all elements within the neighbourhood, and takes into consideration neighbouring precincts also.

In early 2018 construction began on the roading for Stage Two, which will bring a further 510 homes to the market. Stage Two will include a wide, tree-lined boulevard called Waka Moana Drive, which will connect Airfields to the Sunderland neighbourhood at one end and Te Ara Manawa, the coastal walkway, at the other. Construction of the homes in Stage Two, by Top Garden Property, is likely to start towards the end of 2018.

Excellence Endorsed

Apr 5 2018 Community

Hobsonville Point Secondary School has made a brave decision regarding NCEA and it’s paying off for students.

There’s an air of quiet satisfaction this year around Maurie Abraham, Principal of Hobsonville Point Secondary School. But heading towards the end of 2017, it was another matter. The first cohort of his Year 12 students to controversially bypass NCEA Level 1 were about to sit their NCEA Level 2 external exams; the collective breath was held as the community awaited the results in January.

Maurie wasn’t particularly surprised by the results, but some were. “We couldn't be happier with how things have played out,” he said, in his blog. “Our students have achieved NCEA Level 2 to expectation, and the level of Merit or Excellence-endorsed qualifications was higher than expected.” 

The ethos behind going against the status quo and dropping NCEA Level 1 in 2016 was mostly about student wellbeing. Stress levels for 15-year-olds entering the NCEA system are high. And yet for most students the Level 1 qualification is superseded by Level 2 and/or 3 in the following years. “All of us on the staff had seen many examples of over-stressed kids in Year 11 who were losing all engagement with deep learning in their pursuit of credits,” says Maurie.

All those credits require constant assessment, resulting in relentless paperwork for teachers. This further limits deeper learning in context – there simply isn’t time to explore interesting subtopics. International studies have confirmed that a credit-focused educational model promotes superficial learning, not the quality stuff that sticks with us.

Is the school worried about keeping up motivation throughout the year, without the framework of assessment and examination? Maurie is emphatic: “Students aren’t motivated by continual high-stakes assessment. They’re motivated by challenge and inquiry in areas they’re interested in and see as authentic.”

It was tough to convince parents to come on board with the new system, he admits. “They were concerned that their children might not be prepared well enough for externals and that less formal assessment meant less learning.” But many parents were very keen to tackle teenage anxiety, so after much discussion they were prepared to give it a go. Happily, the results spoke for themselves.

 A 2018 NCEA review is already in progress, and Maurie hopes the HPSS experience can contribute to it. He’s already thinking of a three-year journey towards a single qualification, instead of getting “hung up on where every kid’s results are sitting at the end of each calendar year”.

 For Principal Maurie, quality learning occurs when there’s less stress – and at HPSS, the students seem to be proving him right.