Paerata Rise – creating a community

Paerata Rise - creating a community
Grafton Downs is a charitable company within the Methodist Church of New Zealand and is guiding the development of Paerata Rise.

Paerata Rise is not your typical development. Rather than profit, the main driver of the development is to create a community for the future, says Grafton Downs executive director Chris Johnston. “This development is different because of who we are, our history and the fact we are doing it all differently.
“Grafton Downs is drawing from its considerable heritage in the Franklin area and designing a community. Leading consultants from New Zealand based in San Francisco have been retained to help make this vision a reality,” he says.
Grafton Downs Ltd is a charitable company within the Methodist Church of New Zealand and is guiding the development of Paerata Rise. Chris says that it is founded on the same community-based spirit and values as Wesley College, which will form part of Paerata Rise.
Wesley College is New Zealand’s oldest registered secondary school and has been providing quality education and opportunity for students whose family and personal circumstances require special care since 1844.
Wesley College is a state integrated school with the state operating the education aspect of the college and The Wesley College Trust Board providing the buildings and subsidising the boarding house.
Chris says a key driver of the development of Paerata Rise was to provide a sustainable way to fund its contribution to the college into the future and a new college building will be constructed as part of Paerata Rise.
The other key focus is to develop an anchor for a future satellite city at Paerata. Spread over 300ha Paerata Rise will consist of up to 4500 new homes housing around 10,000 residents.
Pukekohe town centre is five minutes’ drive from Paerata Rise and contains boutique shopping, cafes, an art gallery, medical services, cinema, library and transport links to central Auckland.
And it is people and meeting their needs that is also firmly at the heart of all of the planning decisions made by Grafton Downs.
Chris says that the development will work with the natural landscape of the local area, amenities will provide opportunities for education, work and fun and community spaces will facilitate interaction.
The Paerata Rise Residents Association has just been established and this will work to ensure community governance and plan events and activities to create a sense of community, says Chris. “The emphasis will be on creating a community that every member feels invested in and is proud to live in,” he says.
In creating a sense of community green spaces, cycle paths and walkways have been an integral part of the design by Surfacedesign, says Chris.
Paerata Rise will also include 5ha of neighbourhood reserves, schools, a retail precinct, and a transport hub, including a railway station.
“It’s about creating something of benefit to the community and the wider local area. There are also opportunities for people to create new business ventures or work from home supported by local business hubs, retail and public services.”
And things on are on the move as the development continues to take shape. A new primary school has just been signed off and the Ministry of Education has purchased the site. Construction is due to start in 2019. Grafton Downs is also in discussions regarding a site for a new secondary school, says Chris.
There is also a container cafe on the cards with containers shipped up from Christchurch when the Garden City’s successful post-earthquake container mall was dismantled recently.
Chris says that it should be open in time for the opening of the showhomes in the development on December 1.
“The Trust is very clear on having Paerata Rise uphold the values of putting people and community first.
“Establishing a vibrant, supportive community and focusing on what people need in their home surroundings is front and centre of Paerata Rise.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be at the forefront of developing an anchor for a new city in the area and is something we take very seriously and want to look back on with pride for many years to come.”

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