Woods is part of Piritahi, an alliance of companies formed to help rebuild social housing across different Auckland neighbourhoods, providing land to make homes more liveable for Kiwi families to thrive and grow.
We are providing Engineering, Survey, GIS, Planning services for the project.
With the Government recognising the need to improve older, existing homes, Piritahi works across nine neighbourhoods in Auckland to remove 10,000 old state houses, remediate the land and upgrade the infrastructure to prepare for c. 40,000 homes to be constructed in the same space, on behalf of Kāinga Ora.
The programme of work is the largest urban regeneration project in New Zealand's history stretching across 52 square kilometres.
That's almost as big as Manhattan Island in New York and half the size of Hamilton City, and to show you, here is the scale of the project overlaid across a map of Hamilton.
Working with Kāinga Ora, the Government arm that provides social housing for New Zealanders in need, one of Piritahi’s objectives is to speed up the supply of build-ready land.
With the infrastructure of Auckland not being in the best shape – there’s water supply issues, there’s wastewater disposal issues, there’s storm water treatment issues, and there’s road and transport issues – working around these aspects amongst a functioning society, while keeping in mind multiple stakeholders (like schools and councils), is an ongoing challenge.
For two years prior to Piritahi, Woods worked with Housing New Zealand where there was a significant amount of innovation by Woods. Throughout the work, they had to think about the outcomes they were trying to achieve and whether what they were delivering was multifaceted. For example, when they were creating parks, they would consider whether that park could also provide stormwater function and vice versa.
As things were getting built in a very short amount of time, Woods had to ensure they could keep up with the pace and design while constructing and delivering infrastructure to a high standard. It was a challenge but a rewarding one. Getting approvals quickly was a critical component, and it was achieved by collaboratively working with the council, which dramatically sped up the process.
Importantly, one of the key challenges for Woods was working amongst a living community who still needed to work and go to school – and still needed their power running, their telecommunications running, and their toilets flushing.
They had to look at the neighbourhoods as a whole and refocus and realign the solutions by working together to get the best outcome.
Being aware of the impact their work could have on families living with construction around them for an extended period, Woods worked to mitigate these factors. They worked hard to keep locals informed and engaged with what was happening, and they had a deep understanding of the demands on the community as people try to operate their daily lives.
Kainga Ora reached a point where it made sense to combine their various consultants and construction teams into an Alliance. Woods formed a partnership with other design consultants as part of the Alliance bid, and were ultimately picked to participate in the combined Kainga Ora works. Piritahi brings together industry experts to focus on streamlining land development. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop of companies and services on hand for the government to make this transformational work for Auckland happen. As part of Piritahi, Woods are heavily involved in the design and delivery of the infrastructure, in the understanding of how these works integrate with the community, and in keeping the projects rolling.
The work Woods is involved in is transformational and is a special project for the whole team to be involved in. As a company with strong family values, being a part of Piritahi was a natural progression.
The whole team resonated with the project and had a vested interest in building good places for people to live. Driving through some of the neighbourhoods, stage by stage, they noticed significant changes in the landscape – including a totally different look and feel for those who reside there. Houses went from being dim, leaky, and unhealthy to warm, dry , affordable housing.
Woods aren’t social engineers – they’re land engineers. But the work involved in the Piritahi Alliance could only be a good thing, with all stakeholders committed to a great outcome through shared values and objectives.