12 Mar 2015

Hillpark seeks ‘special character overlay’

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We want to protect what we have and we don’t want it trampled on Dave Sharples

A “proud neighbourhood” is putting up a fight against Auckland Council changes it says could threaten the area’s history, native bush and wildlife.

The Hillpark Residents Association is hosting a house and garden tour this Sunday in a bid to raise money to help protect the community’s heritage.

Members are using the funds to lobby for a “special character overlay” for Hillpark in the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan which comes into effect in 2016.

Hillpark seeks special character overlay-oxford lodge

MUST SEE: Orford Lodge.

Special character overlays have been given to areas such as Devonport and Helensville but none has been applied to South Auckland suburbs.

Association member and long-time builder Dave Sharples has lived in Manurewa for nearly 50 years and opened his home to the public at a similar event last year.

He’s worried a lot of native trees and species throughout Hillpark are at risk of disappearing through the plan if action is not taken.

“It’s really nice to wake up at night and hear the morepork. We want to protect what we have.

“. . . if we don’t help ourselves nobody will help us.”

Under the old Manukau District Plan, Hillpark was classified as a traditional heritage zone, which aimed to “preserve qualities associated with the original pattern of subdivision and layout” of the area.

That protection will cease under the unitary plan.

Sharples has built a number of homes in Hillpark and said having houses in the neighbourhood open for public display helps people to see what needs protecting.

“Unless you live here you don’t really appreciate it or even know about it.”

Association member Amy Parlane said the group has put a lot of time into making submissions to the council to have their voices heard.

“We haven’t even discovered what’s here. There haven’t been any assessments to establish whether there are colonies of native bats whereas that’s beginning to take place in other parts of Auckland like the Waitakeres. In the last year we’ve discovered native fish in our waterways.

“The Resource Management Act was more robust than it is now. We haven’t got enough protection in place to retain the environment and its ambience.

“We need to keep fighting,” she said.

Eight homes will be open to the public during Sunday’s tour.Tickets are $25 from Hill Park Chemist, Nathan Homestead Cafe, Dave Sharples 267 4339 or Tracy Coppins 267 5152.


One of the highlights of Hillpark’s House and Garden Tour on Sunday will be the manor-style Orford Lodge in Earls Court.

The property, built in 1910 by lawyer Edward Russell, has Grade II historical and architectural merit with Auckland Council.

The lodge was bought by the Earl and Countess of Oxford in 1928 for £12,000.

The house and the orchard garden were used as a United States military camp during World War II.

The garage was used as the officers’ mess and a fireplace they built still remains.

The lodge is considered a unique New Zealand estate rich in history.


Published: stuff.co.nz