Collaboration with HOOPLA

Te Whau Pathway Project is working with community organisations to fulfil part of the Project’s kaupapa of strengthening connections between people and with the river.

HOOPLA is one of our urban activation partners. We went behind the scenes and asked HOOPLA a few pātai about how they became involved in the project.

Meet Hoopa

Music under the Ash Street bridge on a HOOPLA walk as part of the Whau Arts Festival.

Can you tell us a bit about HOOPLA?

HOOPLA is a social enterprise producing urban research, place advocacy, community engagement and design. Nina Patel, who grew up on the edge of Maungakiekie and on the Waitematā, lives with her whānau on the banks of Te Wai o Whau in Rosebank. Kathy Waghorn hails from Ōmata, Taranaki and lives with her whanau in Kelston, across the Whau awa from Nina. Between us we have  experience in architecture, art, landscape, education and urban design and all our work is focused in the Whau area.   

How did HOOPLA become involved in Te Whau Pathway Project?

We first became involved waaaay back in the beginning. In 2013, we worked with Kathy’s students from the University of Auckland researching the urban connections and conditions around Te Whau in a project called Muddy Urbansim. From this research the possibility of being able to actually move up and down the river on a pathway was identified. With the students we published this research in a book and sent the book to loads of important people – the Mayor, the Whau Ward councillor, our MPs etc.

The following year Ross Clow (then the Whau Ward Councillor) invited us to meet with him and not longer after the Whau Pathway Trust was established. For some years we were on the Whau Pathway steering group, and now, nearly 10 years since we started this work, we are now developing a project to get young people out on the awa. Called “Connecting Rangatahi to the Awa” HOOPLA is working with local groups, kura and schools to develop a way for all local rangatahi to go on the awa as part of their school life. 

What part of the project are you looking forward to the most?

Better connections, a way to safely move through our neighbourhoods alongside the awa. 

What’s your favourite place along Te Wai o te Whau?

Nina, a regular on Te Whau in any craft she can find, loves being on the water. Kathy bike commutes through Ken Maunder park along the river banks, which is especially good at sunset. 

What’s your best Te Wai Whau tip?

We recommend that when kayaking on the awa you keep a good eye out for Ofa!

HOOPLA in kayaks as part of the Flotilla Whau
Photo credit: Brian Marsom
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