Puketapapa Mt Roskill Volcano & Waikaraka Cycleway

Date: 2006-10

Location: Mt. Roskill, Auckland

Client: Auckland City Council

Project status: Completed 2010 



Auckland City Council commissioned our practice to re-design a shared footpath and cycleway for a short section of the Waikaraka Cycleway, a regional cycleway route across the south-western half of the Auckland isthmus. We were assisted by the engineering firm URS Ltd.


Previous proposals had not been able to advance because of their perceived effects on Puketapapa Mt Roskill Volcano, a landscape of national and international importance. The council believed integrating the pathway within a landscape plan for the volcano would ensure a more holistic outcome, including enhancement of its cultural values and respecting Transit NZ/NZTA's earlier modification of the volcano.


We based the landscape plan on a design created by Ngati Whatua o Orakei and our practice for Transit NZ in 2005. The plan aligns itself with the historic way Maori organised space on Auckland’s volcanoes. Maunga formed the origin points of a complex land use system, acting as foci for habitation, cultivated gardens, food storage and defensive fortifications (Pa), often built to protect the food storage.


Puketapapa’s past use as a Pa is acknowledged by waharoa (gateways) and palisade fences, both of which mark important boundaries and guide passage safely across the maunga. Reference to a volcanic slope garden is made through use of basalt stone gifted from Transit NZ’s motorway excavations. Typically, these stone-walled gardens radiated outwards from the summit like the spokes of a wheel. One segment here passes through the existing palm tree avenue, creating a transitional space which slows down cyclists and signals the changing gradient of the maunga.


New plantings dress the maunga and accentuate its curvature. Toetoe, harekeke cultivars, kiekie, ti kouka and taro are planted for cultural harvesting; ferns highlight spring growth; and a rare native grass, Microlaena stipoides, is re-introduced in large numbers to enhance its historic association with Maori settlements and maunga, as well as develop a seed source for the Auckland Region and reduce park maintenance.


The pathway is the thread which binds these and the existing features of the park together. Its line and width are modulated to fit the changing shape of the maunga; the rhythm of elements along its length introduces a more processional route; and new entrances provide better public access.


Our practice led the consultation process, with the design approved by 38 stakeholders before resource consent was granted in November 2008. The project was blessed and publicly opened on 25th July 2010.


The outcome successfully brings together NZTA’s and Auckland City Council’s different transport projects. It is a unique expression of the maunga’s heritage and enhances Puketapapa as a touchstone for Tangata whenua and the local community. The multi-dimensional approach transforms the way the maunga is recognised within the city landscape.



Auckland City Council: Allen Bufton, Don Munro, Ken Baguley, Stuart Knarston, Ina Stenzel, Richard Mann, Tony Hartnett, Marcus Pillay, Frank Price
Concept design: Pita Turei, Richard Reid, Ngarimu Blair
Developed design: Richard Reid & Associates Ltd with URS Ltd
Archaeologist: Rod Clough, Simon Bickler (Clough & Associates Ltd)
Arborist: Craig Webb (Greenscene)
Planting advice: Bernadette Papa (Ngati Whatua), Geoff Davidson (Oratia Native Plant Nursery), Alan Esler, Sue Scheele (Landcare Research) 
Cycleway advice: John Gregory (Cycle Action Auckland)
Construction: Ross Reid Ltd
Carvings: Toitu Design Ltd
Plants: Kari Street Nursery, Oratia Native Plant Nursery
Photographs: Sajeev Ruthramoorthy (Richard Reid & Associates Ltd)




All rights reserved © RRA Ltd 2017