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Consisting of no more than a couple of hundred acres of land on both sides of the Oakley
Creek and the Great North Road, Waterview has always been a very small, defined
geographic area. It comprises all of the land between the start of Blockhouse Bay Road/
Heron Park, down to the start of the North-Western Motorway Interchange, just below
Cowley Street, at the mouth of the Oakley Creek, where it discharges its waters into the
Waitemata harbour, as well as all the land/coastline in this area bordering onto the Motu
Manawa/Pollen Island Marine Reserve.

Including the Great North Road, there are approximately 20 streets that make up
Waterview (23, if you include Unitec's Wairaka Rd, Recreation Drive and Farm Road on
the eastern side of Great North Road).

In general terms, the areas of Waterview (with a few exceptions) which appear to be the
oldest and thus first settled, seem to be those nearest to Avondale (from Heron Park and
Fairlands Avenue down to Alverston Street, as well as the eastern settled portion of Great
North Road up to the start of Blockhouse Bay Road) and the areas closest to Point
Chevalier (consisting of both sides of the banks of the Oakley Creek and in particular the
area at the mouth of the Oakley, below Cowley Street in the vicinity of the North-Western
Motorway and interchange).The areas that were settled next (though still showing some
signs of scattered early development) were between Alford to Oakley Streets, with the
newer areas of the suburb being the large block of land between Oakley, Herdman and
Cowley Streets, (originally called the "Oakleigh Park Estate" or the "Oakley Farm").
Waterview Downs (on the upper eastern side of the Great North Road) is the last street to
be added in Waterview. This private road has been added within the last 5-6 years.

At first glance Waterview appears to be a predominantly state housing area of the mid-
1930s to the 1950s vintage, but looks can be deceptive. Although state housing
construction undoubtedly played a significant role in defining and shaping the physical
appearance of Waterview as we know it today, the area is much older than that. On closer
inspection, there are are several features that remind us of Waterview's earlier
development and of the structures that belie this community's 19th century origins (such
as the Waterview Methodist Church on the corner of Great North Road and Fir Street).

From its initial beginnings in the 1860s, Waterview's early residents established
themselves on the Waterview hill, in the area closest to the Avondale township (around the
original allotments, mainly around Allotment 16) on the western side of the Great North
Road (as well as on the small strip of "ribbon-development" on the eastern side leading
towards Blockhouse Bay Road). It was here (on the hill) that Waterview's first streets were
established in a grid like pattern, fanning out from the main road and down to the
(Waitemata) harbour's edge. This pattern of 19th century street development still exists in
Waterview today, dominating the streetscape of the area from Fairlands Avenue down as
far as Oakley Avenue (and in the streets that lead off them). Here the streets are
reasonably wide but the footpaths are narrow and lined with roadside verges.

In contrast, the lower half of Waterview, (between what is now Oakley Ave and Cowley
Street) on the former Oakley Park Estate, the streetscape has been heavily influenced by
the pattern of state housing developments which occurred here from the 1940s and '50s.
The streetscapes to be found there are typical of the patterns found in state housing
subdivisions throughout the country during that era. This includes rows of state houses set
back at some distance from the roadside with the front yards leading down to the footpaths
(with no fences between them); houses that are orientated to take advantage of the
morning sun; and the incorporation of local shops, a range of community services and
reserves for recreational use in new housing subdivisions and streetscapes that utilised
existing vegetation and green spaces, geometric and curving streets, cul-de-sacs and the
use of pedestrian walkways to link areas of new housing and community facilities together.
Even in parts of Waterview with a considerably older stock of dwellings, state housing has
had an important role in modifying the appearance of those streets .

The vast bulk of residential houses and other buildings in Waterview are single storey
(constructed in brick or wood with some in other materials) and low lying in nature, with a
minority being of two storeys or above. Housing development has by and large been in
keeping with the gentle rolling nature of the topography of the area, creating a sense of
homogeneity throughout the entire suburban area. In general terms, most modern styled
houses built within Waterview, were developed to blend in with the size and scale of the
already existing structures within the area and in harmony with the landscape features of
the district. Past criticism levelled at state housing areas of creating bland monotonous
environs has not proved to be the case in Waterview. State houses over the last fifty years
or so have been remarkably adaptable to renovation and improvements to new living
conditions. While more recent housing styles added in the area since that time have
supplied a variety of streetscapes of the area with an aesthetic interest and vibrancy which
it might otherwise have lacked.

Waterview's physical location, set in the suburban hinterland area surrounding central
Auckland, allowed for its residents over the years to take advantage of its close proximity
to the city and at the same time enjoy the benefits of a healthy suburban lifestyle (a good
environment in which to raise families). Waterview has easy access to Auckland's western
suburbs. It is well supplied with good public transport services, is located on major
transport routes, is dominated by the Great North Road and is an important thoroughfare
and access way to the North-Western Motorway. All these factors have helped to make
Waterview, in recent years, an increasingly desirable area in which to live. This is
especially true of areas of Waterview closest to the water (such as Seaside Avenue,
Hadfield Street, the bottom parts of Fairlands Avenue etc.) where most houses have
excellent views across the harbour.

In addition to this, Waterview is located close to major shopping centres and educational
facilities. It has its own primary school, and kindergarten. It is close to one of Auckland's
largest secondary schools and nearby intermediate schools, not to mention its close
proximity to Unitec, a large tertiary educational institute. It is well supplied with several
recreation and open spaces (including Herdman, Howlett, Tutuki and Saxon Street
Reserves, Fairlands and Seaside Avenue Reserves. Other features of Waterview which
are highly prized by Waterview's residents include its local shops and diary (the Waterview
Store), its two churches and the primary school hall which doubles as the local community
centre, its children's playgrounds but most importantly of all the close bonds of friendship
developed over the years between residents and neighbours - the development of a strong
sense of community.

Waterview has been blessed with a number of interesting landscape features such as the
Mouth of the Oakley Creek around which much of the early development of Waterview
took place, and the natural gully at the bottom of Fir Street is a unique feature of this part
of the suburb dividing this road from the lower part of Saxon Street. Waterview also
contains several areas of significant environmental importance including most of its
coastline being a part of a national marine reserve (the Motu Manawa/Pollen Island Marine
Reserve), Heron Park which overlooks splendid views of the Rosebank Peninsula and the
Waitakere Ranges and the riverine valley of the Oakley Creek on the eastern side of the
Great North Road, formed out of the large farmland estate that once supported the
country's largest mental hospital. It contains one of the largest (comparatively
undeveloped) urban waterways on the Auckland isthmus and contains a major urban
waterfall (The Te Auaunga falls). It serves as an important green belt area of the city, has
extensive Maori and European archaeological sites along its banks, is an area of
significant public reserve land featuring walkways and cycle ways and is inhabited by a
wide range of floral and faunal species.

The Waterview of yester-year (of the 19th century) was distinctly different from the
Waterview of today (2006) and is likely to be distinctly different from the Waterview of the
future. But the patterns of growth and development of the Waterview district, from the 19th
Century to the present day, including the political ideologies of successive governments
(including the housing and economic policies they followed) helped to form and shape the
suburban landscape of present day Waterview, including the types of houses in which its
residents chose to live.

It is difficult to surmise what Waterview may have been like, if for example the industrial
developments at the mouth of the Oakley Creek or along its banks had continued to
develop on a more sustained basis from the late 19th and into the early 20th centuries or if
the industrial development of the Oakley Park Estate in the 1920s and early 1930s had
materialised. Perhaps Waterview would have become a mixed light industrial/ semi-
residential area, similar to parts of the present Rosebank Peninsula. However there are a
number of factors which are likely to affect how Waterview may develop in the future such
as the increasing pressure for more infill housing, and the development of the Western ring
route through Waterview; just two that will need to be considered in the coming years.
Others may include: the future direction of development of Unitec's property- what will
happen to the eastern side of the Great North Road (Oakley Creek Valley) if for some
reason Unitec decides to move on or sell its Point Chevalier/Waterview campus? Is there
likely to be increased subdivision along this side of the Oakley Creek or will it be preserved
for future generations of Waterview and Auckland residents? How will increasing traffic
pressures affect the area ? How will the socio-economic factors in future years change the
pace of ethnic diversity and wealth/lifestyle of its residents?

However many of the features mentioned above that make Waterview an interesting and
vibrant community in which to live are likely to continue into the future. Some landmarks
are likely to change, new ones will arrive to take their place but the landscape and
character of the area are likely to remain well into the future.