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A reproach and a monument to the next generation



The subject and tone of a 150 year-old letter, from the Daily Southern Cross newspaper, seems strangely familiar. If it were not for the old-fashioned style of writing, you could be forgiven for thinking it was about the current issues that abound in Onehunga today. 


‘Sir,’ the letter reads, ‘Are the settlers of Onehunga and Mangere going to allow the failure of the Mangere Bridge scheme to be a reproach and a monument to the next generation of their apathy and want of energy? Surely they, by this time, have seen the necessity of unanimity in their councils, and the folly of introducing personal feuds into matters of such nature’. The letter goes on to suggest ways of cutting through the discussion, and getting the project underway. And, whether you are talking about the current Mangere Bridge pedestrian bridge, the East West Link, the power lines that still blight our view, or one of the many other projects that are currently causing controversy in our community, some of these quaintly worded sentiments still ring true.

 Comparing its accusations of “apathy and want of energy”, to today’s pro-active community, goes a step too far however. From the recent tally of the record 689 submissions to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and which for the most part oppose the East West Link, it is clear that our community has the energy and commitment to protest.

 Attempts to improve the design of the proposed new pedestrian bridge, the future of the transmission pylons marching across the bay, the struggles for a new foreshore,(which we now have), the controversial design of the East West Link’s interchange at Onehunga, and the push for a transformation of the port into a Wynyard Quarter-style business and recreation area, are all examples of the passion to reclaim our town and environment. 

 DL, who wrote the letter in 1867, would have been sadly disappointed at its failure to spur any action. The first bridge across the Manukau Harbour from Onehunga to Mangere did not open until 1875 – eight years later. How long will it take to see some resolution to the numerous infrastructure issues confronting the community now?












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