The way we get around our local streets has an effect on not only road safety, but on our fitness, health, and happiness. Places with higher rates of active travel and exercise are less likely to suffer from obesity and diabetes.

In 2012 in Māngere Central, people were driving a lot, even just to do short trips within their suburb. As well as this, people driving, walking, and cycling were more likely to be killed or hurt on the road than in other Auckland suburbs. People were being killed or seriously injured just doing normal things like going to the shops, to work, to school, to church, or visiting friends and whānau.

By changing the design of the streets, we hoped that people would feel more comfortable to walk and cycle to local destinations rather than drive. In doing so, this would improve road safety outcomes and help make people fitter, healthier, and more active.

Another aim was to reflect the strong cultural identity of the mana whenua’s connection to the land through design.

The project is called Te Ara Mua – Future Streets meaning “the path ahead shaped by the path behind”.

In addition to the street changes, this is also a research project. Researchers want to understand what effect these changes have on the way people move around the community.

Intended outcomes of the research:

  • Streets that meet the needs of all people who use them

  • High-quality cycle and pedestrian connections

  • Lower traffic speeds on local streets

  • Better provision for all road users on busier streets

  • Safe routes to school by active modes

  • Integration with the wider transport network, including public transport and arterial corridors

The Project Area

Māngere Central was chosen following an intensive selection process across Auckland. The process took into account neighbourhood connectivity, road safety, potential to benefit the local community, and willingness by the community to jointly participate in the project. Māngere East was used as a comparison (‘control’) area and may receive changes to their streets at a later date.

The Project

The problem

A great way to get around your neighbourhood is to walk or wheel. It is cheaper than driving, gives you the chance to get some fresh air, say hi to your neighbours, and as a bonus it keeps you fit.

In 2012, the design of the streets in Māngere encouraged people to drive instead of using cheaper and healthier options like walking, cycling, or scooting, even for short trips. One reason was because the footpaths were not comfortable to walk on, crossing the road could be difficult, and walking through parks could be dangerous. Getting around in an active way was not the easiest or safest option.

We know that the design of streets can have a big effect on how people get around. Sometimes neighbourhoods are designed in a way that means getting around by walking or wheeling is difficult or scary. Maybe there isn’t a place to cross the road easily, or maybe the footpath is bumpy. These problems might mean that rather than making active local trips, you drive instead, or if you have mobility difficulties, stay home.

Changes to streets can be made which alters the way people use them. We can put in pedestrian crossings so you can cross the road more easily. We can make the footpath surface smoother and wider so it is easier to use. We can also make roads narrower to slow down cars, especially because they are dangerous around our tamariki [children].

For more information about the details of the construction and the reasons behind it, click here.

Community engagement

The first step was to talk to locals. We wanted to learn about the things that they felt make it difficult to get around, especially by walking and cycling. This happened between 2012 and 2014 where a community participatory design process led by the Local Board (Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board) together with a community reference group, and the research team was carried out. Changes to the design of the streets were discussed with the community. This was done through flyers, information sessions, community events, and booths held at the Saturday Markets in 2013 and 2014. The aim was to understand local people’s concerns and aspirations.

People from Māngere talked about what changes were needed and how they should look. The perspectives of a range of people were heard, including kids, mana whenua, people with disabilities, shop keepers, and other local residents. This was important for the design process because after all, the Māngere community are the experts on their neighbourhood – they know their streets better than anyone. 

These discussions led to the creation of seven design principles which were followed to inform the design concepts used throughout the project.

The seven design principles were:
1. Streets that work for walking and cycling
2. People feel safer as they get around the community
3. Traffic speed is reduced
4. People can cross the road safely
5. Access to Schools and the Mall is prioritised
6. Creating spaces for biking
7. Improvements reflect the identity of Māngere people

The second stage of community engagement involved two consultation processes managed by Auckland Transport. It focused on the detailed designs for the new infrastructure, particularly relating to the partial closure of one street.



  • Te Ara Mua – Future Streets established in October
  • MBIE, Auckland Transport and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board formally join the project
  • Community leadership through the Local Board



  • Concept development with community members and community leaders
  • Meetings with mana whenua
  • Baseline data collection


  • Infrastructure designed
  • Funding and regulatory approvals sought
  • Ongoing design discussions with mana whenua and community advisory groups
  • Construction


  • Construction
  • Mana whenua meeting after construction


  • Construction
  • Follow-up data collection


  • Follow-up data collection
  • Data are being analysed
  • Results are being shared


  • Next wave of follow-up research funded by an HRC grant
  • Further research into active travel in Māngere funded by Ageing Well and Healthier Lives

People and organisations involved

Te Ara Mua – Future Streets is a partnership between community advisors, mana whenua, researchers, and practitioners. Combined, and with community input, their knowledge contributed to the development of the street changes.

Several organisations were involved to give advice on the project regarding: engaging Māori and Pasifika; appropriately representing and acknowledging place; community engagement; infrastructure design; and research approaches.

Auckland Transport implemented the changes and collaborated in the design.

Seven research organisations worked together to help design the street changes. They are continuing to work together to understand the impact of the changes on the community.

TERNZ Transport Research – Peter Baas

Mackie Research – Dr Hamish Mackie, Greer Hawley, Dr Kimiora Raerino, Dr Lily Hirsch, Rebekah Thorne

The University of Auckland, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences – Professor Alistair Woodward, Associate Professor Melody Smith nee Oliver, Dr Jamie Hosking, Dr Malakai ‘Ofanoa, Bert van der Werf, Dr Joanna Stewart

SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University – Professor Karen Witten

University of Otago – Dr Alex Macmillan, Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell, Associate Professor Robin Turner

Dovetail – Dr Adrian Field

DesignTRIBE – Rau Hoskins


      Several organisations committed funds to implement Te Ara Mua – Future Streets in Māngere, including Auckland Transport, the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board, and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

      The Te Ara Mua – Future Streets research was funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) over four years. In addition, Te Ara Mua – Future Streets also had Safe System Signature Project status.

      A new wave of follow-up research commenced in 2020 and this has been funded by an HRC grant. We will be investigating whether the intervention has led to any changes in travel behaviour (including vehicle speeds, walking and cycling) how residents feel about their neighbourhood, whether physical activity, road traffic injuries and air pollution have changed, and whether the intervention has made any difference to diabetes risk. We will be repeating measures we’ve used before, including collecting vehicle speed and road user video footage, surveying residents and measuring air pollution.

      Further research investigating how to support active travel has been funded by the Ageing Well and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges. This research started in 2020 in two locations: Central Christchurch and South Auckland. In Māngere, South Auckland, the research will investigate the types of interventions that fit best local opportunities and preferences and then, once these interventions are in place, track their impacts on active travel and community wellbeing. This research builds on the Te Ara Mua – Future Streets intervention. The Christchurch research investigates how moving into a higher density housing development with opportunities for shared mobility affects travel practices. 

      creative contributions

      The Te Ara Mua – Future Streets Logo

      In 2013 a design competition was run between secondary students for the design of the Te Ara Mua – Future Streets logo. Students at Southern Cross Campus and Māngere College were invited to develop logo designs. The winning design was the work of Jonah Filipo. Jonah was presented with his prize by Lydia Sosene, Chair of the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board. The photograph taken in 2013 is of Jonah with his mother and Lydia Sosene.

      The Cartoon Map of Māngere

      Lei Wen is a Freelance Designer and Multi Disciplinary Artist. Her diverse skills range from the hand drawn to complex computer design; enabling her to come up with innovative ideas for marketing, event concepts and graphic design. Lei was born in China and moved to New Zealand when she was seventeen to study at Whitecliffe School of Art and Design. After graduating she stayed and settled with her family in West Auckland.

      “I love Auckland and am constantly amazed by its diversity and natural beauty. Māngere is a centre full of colour and life – that’s what inspired me with this image. I wanted to capture its strong sense of community and its rich cultures.”

      Video Production

      Of Sāmoan descent, Sound & Music Producer Anonymouz’s work spans traditional music composition and production through to experimental avant-garde sound art. His thorough approach to research, engagement and innovative application means his skills are in high demand in both the traditional and wider creative industries.

      He was one of 20 Pacific artists who attended the 2016 Festival of Pacific Arts in Guåhan (Guam) as part of the Aotearoa delegation, premiering an original 20 minute audio soundscape work at the Guam Museum created exclusively out of audio samples recorded around the island. 

      In 2014, he was appointed by Auckland City Council to oversee the production of permanent soundscapes for the new Glen Innes Music and Arts centre facility “Te Oro”. Unveiled a year later, it was the first time a non-physical public art work had been commissioned by a local authority in New Zealand. In addition to productions for organisations such as Auckland Museum, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Theatre Company & Auckland Libraries, he has also produced for many local music artists.

      His work can also be heard every four minutes on Pacific radio in the many imaging stings that he has created for NIU FM and Radio 531 PI.  Most recent creditation is as the producer of the track MASTA which features in The Rock soundtrack for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new Hollywood blockbuster Hobbs & Shaw.

      Web Developer

      Marcelo Oliveira from Metamorfose9 has 16 years’ experience working in the field of Website Development, Web Design, and Digital Marketing. He has lived in Brazil and Australia and is proud to work with companies in both countries – and now in New Zealand – to help them achieve their goals.