Motorway next to Mt Cook School


What is the proposal?


Memorial Park

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage proposes to build a Memorial Park adjacent to the present War Memorial on Buckle St (in front of the Carrillon and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier).  The Park is expected to occupy the land area between Mt Cook School and adjacent buildings in St Martin Square  to the North, the block of land with Massey University, the War Memorial, the old Police Barracks and the Defence Forces site to the South, Tory and Tasman Sts to the East and Taranaki Street to the West.


The project also involves the Wellington City Council, Transit New Zealand and the Ministry of Defence as the other main government stakeholders.


What are the problems?


Buckle Street is expected to be routed in a gradual arc past the Mt Cook School - about 10m at the closest point - instead of its present location about 40m away from the School boundary. Mt Cook School representatives and parents believe there will be major ill-effects if this proposed road change goes ahead.


Air pollution

Increases in the concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and small particles (PM10) by 260% each are expected as a consequence of moving Buckle Street as planned, according to Ministry of the Enviroment formulae.  Traffic pollution in this case cannot be mitigated or blocked: none of the mitigation options offered by the Ministry of the Enviroment apply here . Trees, walls, etc. are good and necessary for reducing noise, but make no difference whatsoever to localised hour-by-hour air pollution levels.


In study after study, traffic pollution has been shown to damage children’s respiratory health, and the higher the exposure, the worse the effects. In particular, traffic pollution exacerbates asthma. Truck traffic is particularly bad. Furthermore, a recent study suggests traffic pollution exposure in children can cause permanent, life shortening lung damage.  Ministry of the Environment site on air pollution cited earlier has some general information worth looking at.  For example, in Wellington particle concentrations already cause an estimated 79 premature deaths, 30 hospitalisations and 100,000 person days of restricted activity per year. Click here to see more.


Increasing Inequalities

Existing public health research shows inequalities in health outcomes in New Zealand by socio-economic status and ethnic group. (see pretty much anything published by Tony Blakely and/or the University of Otago Health Inequalities Research Programme.)


The 2005 Mt Cook School ERO Report shows the following breakdown in the school population

Mt Cook School Decile 2  
Ethnic composition New Zealand European/Pakeha 27%
  African 27%
  Maori 17%
  Samoan 10%
  Asian 10%
  Other Ethnic Groups 9%


Moving the road, resulting in adverse health impacts for Mt Cook School children, would contradict the whole of government policy on Reducing Inequalities.


Traffic safety

The main traffic intersection between Tory, Tasman and Buckle Sts will be brought much closer to the school entrance according to current Ministry of Culture and Heritage plans.  Traffic volumes in this area have been increased by the creation of the Wellington Inner City Bypass from Willis Street to the Basin Reserve, and are expected to increase further.  This is particularly worrying as significant safety concerns with the existing intersection have been reported to, and acknowledged by, the Wellington City Council.  For example, vehicles frequently run through one of the crossing when pedestrians, including parents and school children have a signal to go.  These present concerns remain unaddressed, but could be dealt with using a bridge for North-South foot traffic over Buckle Street in its existing location.  


Seeking the best outcome for users

The question needs to be asked, "who will be the users of the Memorial Park and the surrounding area?"


The Memorial Park design should weight community and school highly AND facilitate government official use.


Issues of poor public process


What about the greater vision for Mt Cook - linking with other developments

Ernst Zolner, Director, Strategy and Planning for the Wellington City Council, indicated that the WCC intends to reduce the traffic in Tory Street.  The idea is to make that thoroughfare more pedestrian friendly in the medium term, like Cuba Street.  It would be good to know more about this, and the implications for the development and/or retention of amenities such as parks, a swimming pool and gym, retail outlets, and apartments.


What is wanted?


A Memorial Park that is accessible, maintains the health and safey and legal rights of local residents, facilitates official commemorative occasions, and is consistent with a larger vision and urban planning for the Mt Cook area.


What are the options?  Local people can:



Present their case through the media


Contribute to the design brief

Mt Cook School and parents are compiling their concerns and suggestions to be incorporated in the Ministry's detailed design brief to go to selected landscape designers by July 6.  We all know this is far from satisfactory - the timeline and current design parameters.


Present to the Memorial Park Project Committee

Representatives of Mt Cook School and parents attended a meeting of the Memorial Park Project Committee on 26 June 2007.  Here is the:


Ideas for Memorial Park -


Design Competition, 28-29 July 2007


skrbl now



These are people to whom you can express your concerns and offer suggestions:


Wellington City Council

Ernst Zollner

Director, Strategy Planning and Planning

04 801 3676

021 227-8105


Ministry of Culture and Heritage

Brodie Stubbs

04  496-6349


Mt Cook School

Sandy McCallum


04 385 9432


Mt Cook Mobilised

Geoff Stone

Local - looking after weblog and this wiki

021 204-3678