• Members of the Channel Mag team in Hurstmere Road, Takapuna. From left, Aidan Bennett (and Tui), Kim MacIntosh, Liz Cannon and Ashleigh Patton. Inset, Crystal Sharp in her home office.
  • An artist’s impression from the proposed development at Bayswater Marina.
  • Michelangelo – A Different View exhibition at the Aotea Centre.
  • Taking in the DreamSpace 360 Immersion Lab Viewing experience.
Tags: Channel

Challenging times as the sun shines!

Welcome to our February 2022 issue of Channel Magazine, our first for the year. And here we go again… Covid-19 in the form of Mr Omicron is with us again to create some more challenges – but we will beat him!

We’ve turned out a great issue to start the year, over 100 pages of positive stuff about the North Shore.
As you will read I was dispatched to learn all about the new DreamSpace apartment development and take in their innovative 360 Immersion Lab Viewing experience. I was blown away. When talk is often about how cramped apartment living can be it is refreshing to see designers creating living spaces that prove it doesn’t have to be that way. I hope you enjoy my piece on DreamSpace and our feature on apartment living.

Christine Young has done an excellent feature on our local Shore people who were recognised in the 2022 New Year Honours. She chats to Jane Rutledge from De Paul House who very deservedly received a QSM for Services to Transitional Housing.

I am thrilled to see the project to create the new town square in Takapuna – to be called ‘Waiwharariki Anzac Square’ – is now well under way. I see this as a big win for the future of Takapuna. We are going to get a lovely town square, hot on the heels of the wonderful Hurstmere Road upgrade, that will serve our community well in the years ahead. Getting projects like this over the line is why I decided to stand for the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, and I am proud of the part I have played to see this come to fruition. Accompanying Waiwharariki Anzac Square in the future will be new buildings and laneways on the Anzac Street Carpark site that will further increase the vibrancy of Takapuna. See our feature on Waiwharariki Anzac Square in this issue.

It is no secret that our retail and hospitality businesses are hugely challenged in these Covid-19 times. The restrictions of what people can do means that numbers are down. Business is certainly tough. What’s making it tougher for areas like Takapuna (and the central city) is a large number of empty offices as people continue to work from home. This is a huge problem as Takapuna’s commercial infrastructure, and related lease-rates etc., have been built on these people being around to create the much-needed commercial activity. I fully realise that work habits have changed a bit, but I do believe we need to get as many people back asap. In my view entities such as Auckland Council, the government and public sector as well as major businesses should be leading the way in getting people back to the office as soon as Covid-19 alert levels allow.
Now to upset a few people who are rounding up all the horses to curtail the plans of Bayswater Marina owner Simon Herbert. His residential development project has come before the local board recently to seek our views. I was in the minority on the board with my view that we should get on and do it as this area needs investment. It is in a sorry state. Investment from the owner (who’s clearly committed) and from the council to improve the strip of land it owns there. Like Takapuna, there will never be agreement on what should be done at Bayswater as there are many different views and interests at play. This can be a quality lifestyle residential and marine village like you experience all over the world, while at the same time enhancing it as an important destination for those commuting. I say let’s just get on and let them do it.

In this issue you will also read about the work our business Benefitz has done for the ‘Michelangelo – A Different View’ exhibition on at the Aotea Centre. We are very proud of the project and I have enjoyed working with Stewart and Tricia Macpherson of Stetson Group who have organised the exhibition. They’ve been doing events for 50 years so know how to run them to perfection. During this event I also got on the telly talking about our work! If you haven’t been to see the exhibition I reckon you should – it’s still on until February 13th, having been extended by two weeks.

What a great summer we have had in terms of the weather. When I have been back on the Shore after a break up north it has been great to see so many people out and about enjoying the sunshine in our town centres and at our fabulous beaches. Don’t we live in a special place. On these lovely summer mornings I love nothing more than doing that walk between Milford and Takapuna, or from Takapuna down the Devonport Peninsula then finishing with brekkie at one of our great cafes. Takapuna Beach Café being a favourite!

Kia pai a Hui-tanguru – Have a great February.

Aidan Bennett, QSM
Publisher, Channel Magazine
Founder & MD, Benefitz
Email: aidan@benefitz.co.nz