Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter

Wednesday 06 October 2021 – Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland.

Wynyard Quarter and the Silo Park are light years away from how I remember them from before I left Auckland. I used to run these streets and the greasy, occasionally smelly harbour side when I was working nearby before the company I worked for moved south to Manukau. This area was all rusty tugs and fishing boats, vast oil and chemical tanks and these weird silos that no-one knew the contents of, other than those in the know. I believe that bulk fuel and chemicals had not been stored here for quite some time, but the land was toxic and it always had that air of desertion that you feel in unloved and unwanted working sections of towns. The fact they have gone and the harbour side has opened up to residences and small parks and loads of cafes, bars and restaurants almost feels miraculous as there had been wrangling on removing the tanks and cleaning the site for years, and as is often the case in Auckland, nothing ever happens at pace.

Though I can still picture in my mind the old barbered wire topped walls and the memory of the feel and smell of an fish and oil infused wind whipping though the mostly empty wide streets as I walk, this renovated small corner of Auckland City now feels and looks really good. It’s a shame about the obscene number of car parks that litter the area, an opportunity for a car free space was well and truly lost.

Being a little disappointed with yesterday’s photos (I had yet to re-evaluate them and change my mind) I decided I would take the camera out to the Silo Park today and have another go at some photography. I had some ideas in mind and decided to use the plastic fantastic 50mm lens rather than 16-35 zoom I took yesterday as that one would not have as worked as well. This is the third plastic fantastic I’ve owned, the last was on the camera I broke back in August 2019. I recently picked up a second-hand one and sadly it’s nowhere near as crisp as the one I’d had from new and I always find myself mildly disappointed with the results. I will replace it with a new one when I’m earning again. 50mm is my favourite focal length, and it encourages the use of your legs as a zoom.

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Today was the first day of a slight relaxation in Covid-19 level 3 rules and people can now spend some outdoor time with another household group. It’s school holidays and was sunny and warm and there were more people out walking than I’ve seen for ages. Nice. While I like solitude, especially when taking pictures, it was pleasurable seeing people enjoying this space. It’s a space for people to be in (not cars).

I started my walk over the road from the flat, in Victoria Park. Crossing over the park near the end furthest from the flat is a flyover that leads to and from the harbour bridge, a pretty decent covered walkway across the park. With traffic volumes low due to the lockdown we can barely hear it from the flat’s balcony.

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The first developments of the Wynyard Quarter were either started or finished, I am not sure which, in 2011, though I don’t recall going there before I left Auckland at the end of that year. There has been continuous development over the intervening years, and I am sure there is more to be done. As I said before, apart from the number of car parks I think this area has been done really well, I particularly like the improved access to the harbour edge.

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Eleanor and I have walked here a few times in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been eyeing up the remaining silos as potential photo opportunities. It looks like they will remain as features in the area which I very much hope is the case as they retain some of the old character, without the smell, and will be there as a reminder of what this area used to be like.  

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There is a viewing platform, though I am not 100% sure of its purpose as it is in a weird position, but it is photogenic, and I was the only person up there until I pressed the shutter.

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I like the contrast of this lunching workman and the monochromatic silos he was eating in.

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Leaving the silos and Wynyard I walked back home via some of the side streets between the flat and the city, taking a couple of photos on the way. There is a part demolished building at the end of Federal St, that’s been like this since before I left the country. I would love to get in and take some photos. 

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I am learning to love the city, though given my negative feelings I think that will take a significant amount of time. Walking most days means I am taking more time to properly see things which allows me to better appreciate what is good amongst all the bad.

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I wasn’t out for long, but it was fun. I enjoyed taking some photos and am mostly pleased with the results, so yay for me.

Published by

wheresphil

Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.

One thought on “Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter”

  1. Hi Phil.
    Yes interesting how its slowly changing down there. Lots more apartment developments. When I was franchisee for the herald we covered that area and the amount of new nooks and crannies was and is phenomenal. We had coded tabs to access private lobbies being thrown at us left right and centre. It was one of the few areas where newspaper subscriptions were increasing. Lots of older people buying fancy “downsized” apartments. When I say downsized I mean from their previous half acre Villa Mansion in Herne Bay or Remuera.
    And you gotta get past the car thing. Auckland is locked into cars and always will be. We simply dont have the tens of billions required to build an encompassing public transport system that can adequately replace or even minimise car use. We rely on cars because we cant rely on public transport. And this country is bigger than the combined area of the UK and there are around 60 million more people in the UK to pay for their systems. I think what should be happening if they wont invest in public transport to adequately replace cars, that they should put in place big subsidies for hybrid and electric cars. They have started with EVs subsidies already but to be honest there is not the charging infrastructure in place yet. So hybrids are a very good option. Very economical much less emissions which is all good for the environment. [supposedly, and that’s a whole other discussion] We simply dont have the billions reqd to do what’s needed. They are building a 3.2km train loop around the city. Its taking forever. although they say its on time [it isn’t] Its caused businesses to go bankrupt through footpath and rd blockages with no compensation to the owners and its severely over budget. In 2019 they were over by a billion plus and scrapping other projects to fund it and hide the blowout.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/112122165/city-rail-link-auckland-council-diverts-500-million-savings-to-overbudget-project

    Then in 2020 they conveniently have just altered their budget to 4.4 billion from the original 3.2 billion. They also compare it to how much traffic it will take off the roads by comparing it to the harbour bridge, which is just ridiculous as it will have zero effect on anyone going Nth Sth over the bridge as there is no railway on the shore or crossing the harbour anywhere.
    I feel let down by decades of politicians who had zero foresight and have pushed their own barrows in ever increasing different directions causing the messy hotch potch system we have now. Unless they can cram another 15 to 20 million people into NZ to pay for a decent system its basically out of our reach now. Whereas if it had been started and planned well in the 50s 60s and 70s when there was room for it and the country at that time could have afforded it and then it would be a different story now. I think the only viable alternative now is a citywide aboveground modern light rail whether it be monorail or whatever. Tunnels are vastly expensive. Yes aboveground wont be pretty but when you cant afford pretty then you take what you can get. You can run a monorail down dominion rd alot cheaper than tunnelling. You can run it across the upper harbour into Albany via Lucas Creek providing access to the stadium and the Northern Busway station. You can run it down any road any where almost. The big problem is NIMBYism is still wide awake alive and kicking in NZ. And the huge kickback from anyone affected particularly in some inner city rich suburbs means it would have to be forced through. It would have to be electric and NZ is flat out burning coal to provide electricity a fact that is brutally ignored by most. We have alot of problems in this country. Not just cars. Everywhere you look up and down NZ there are big problems with infrastructure ,local politics, central politics, race relations, poverty, crime, water quality, power production, Health, Education, farming etc etc etc .. It really isn’t the clean green well organised little place everyone thinks. Auckland City council has hit the wall with debt and is unable to borrow more. So they are quietly setting up NGOs to make loans that the council will have control over but not responsibility for thereby increasing real council debt by using smoke and mirrors and no one is doing a damn thing to stop them. Its effectively fraud. But try saying that to a media that have been bought and paid for. Auckland Council is run by an ex labour Party leader and high ranking central govt Minister.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300058577/city-rail-link-halfway-through-new-zealands-largest-infrastructure-build

    https://www.railway-technology.com/features/featuremonorail-pie-in-the-sky-5741461/

    I used to regularly write to the papers pointing out all this kind of shit.
    I’ve lost the urge to carry on the fight. There are some others out there fighting but with the current status quo its pretty much a lost cause.

    end of rant…

    You probably didn’t get this far .
    Enjoy your photography. I take quite alot of photos. But my camera is usually my ph and my other one is nowhere near as flash as your gear. But I enjoy it.

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