In 2009, the “godfather” of zero waste in Aoteaora, the late Warren Snow spoke at a Grey Lynn 2030 public meeting about the concept of a resource recovery centre and the economic, environmental and social benefits it could generate. The vision for a centre was embraced by Grey Lynn 2030 and other transition town groups
The City Vision-led local boards Albert-Eden, Puketāpapa and Waitematā all adopted the initiative to develop a centrally located centre in the first local board plans 2011. This led to the funding of the first business case and the search for a suitable site.
Now almost a decade since the first work got underway on the project by Auckland Council, Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre has opened at a celebratory event on 11 August 2023. The centre forms part of Auckland’s growing resource recovery network first proposed by Envision’s founder Warren and ex-director Julie Dickinson in 2005.
Albert-Eden Local Board Chair, Margi Watson spoke at the opening acknowledging all those who have held the vision over many years and been part of developing Auckland’s latest one-stop shop for recycling. Here is Margi’s speech. City Vision is proud to have played a part in making the community’s vision a reality.
“To mana whenua here today. Your Kaupapa, your knowledge and your connection is what makes this city blessed. Matauranga Maori gets caring for the environment right. We all need more of what we are doing today to save this planet for future generations.
Last month, was the earth’s hottest month on record and António Guterres declared “The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.” That is why today’s climate action and this centre is so important – it’s what makes this a good day!
Good projects take time and we’ve come a long way but climate action is imperative and a no-brainer for this city:
Firstly, I wish to acknowledge those that have passed while we got this project happening.
- Warren Snow who was much loved and his family are here today. He was Envision, undertook our scoping study and to identify potential sites. He started the zero-waste movement in Aotearoa and he passed one year ago this week.
- Caroline Robinson, who worked so hard alongside our community to bring the vision to life and drive the project from 2016. She is sadly missed and many of her friends and colleagues are here today.
This building and site have a long history. Where we stand today, alongside Waitītiko awa was likely highly productive land for Maori in pre- European settlement times, then it became the clubrooms for the Chamberlain Park golf course until it was cut off by the motorway. Then the building was used by the Auckland Horticultural Council and now it is Waiōrea. It is a proud history – it’s also a site that meets changing community needs and I am pleased that mana whenua, golfers and Auckland Horticultural Council could be here today.
To the past and present members of the Albert-Eden, Waitematā and Puketāpapa Local Boards, who funded the initial vision and assessment for a site on the central isthmus in 2012, thank you. It was a commitment that comes to full life today as we open this facility. We wanted to see more than a recycling centre but a site that educated, unlocked upcycling potential in the community and gave us a solid path to the future. And to Albert-Eden Local Board specifically, thank you for endorsing use of this site in 2015.
We then moved into community engagement and site design in 2016. This site is for community and my thanks to those who were on board in the early days. In 2021, development of the site and refurbishment of the building started. Once the operator, MPHS came on board last year – it was getting close to a reality.
So the thank you list is:
- The Local Boards: Albert-Eden, Puketāpapa and Waitematā from 2011 onwards
- Council staff from Waste Solutions and Connected Communities
- Matthew Luxon from Envision
- Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
- Ngai Tai
- Makaurau Marae
- Te Ahiwaru Waiohua
- Te Akitai Waihoua
- Grey Lynn 2030
- and later on Eco-Neighbourhoods, Chinese Conservation Education Trust and MPHS.
And EVERYONE who touched this project – thank you for being committed and on this journey with us and being here today.
What this means for Albert-Eden and the communities in central Auckland:
- We’re another step closer to our zero-waste goal.
- It will be a hugely valuable resource to help locals and people of central Auckland learn more, be more aware and actively reduce waste to landfill.
- And we can do our bit to stop the boiling planet
Ngā mihi nui”
Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre, 990 Great North Road.