The long-standing fight to save Stockade Hill views is nearing its end – the final hearing is next Monday July 16.
But the Stockade Hill Defencibles, a small group of locals, aren’t going down without one final fight. The group – Andrew Laing, Brooke Williams, Tracey Fox, Claire Thompson, Jane Moody, Leigh Hodgetts and Ron Fielding – started out as a humble pub quiz team but have quickly become Picton Street’s most popular campaigners.
Like many who know and love Howick village, they were shocked to find out that the 360-degree views around Stockade Hill were still under threat and that the process of allowing high-density development to practically surround the landmark was still very much on the cards. They decided to take to social media to let people know what was happening.
The Defencibles started the ‘Save Stockade Hill Views’ Facebook page which rapidly gained more than 700 followers with posts on the page reaching in excess of 13,000 people in the area. They have even attracted messages of support from as far away as California.
A regular feature on the page is the weekly radio show playlist request. Andrew Laing hosts a Thursday evening Road Show on Howick’s local radio station East FM and has been playing songs suggested by their Facebook followers all month.
The group have also ‘taken it to the streets’ every Saturday outside helloworld on Picton Street, along with representatives from the Howick Residents and Ratepayers Association. They’ve been chatting with locals, distributing posters and leaflets and encouraging anyone who can’t attend the hearing to put up a message of support on their ‘wonder wall’.
“I find it all very moving” said Tracey Fox. “We’ve had people in their ‘90s writing beautiful messages of support, along with children as young as three drawing pictures.”
Clearly the breadth and depth of support runs across generations, the team received hundreds of messages on their wall and on their Facebook page. Claire Thompson has been blown away by the level of interest; “It’s been great talking to so many people, so many have said they just weren’t aware that the fight was still going on!” MP Simeon Brown and his wife, along with Howick’s very own town crier Jim Donald have stopped by to chat with the group and show their support.
They will then be taking the ‘wonder wall’ to be displayed at the commission hearing on the 16th. “It’s a great way to show the commission that so many people are concerned and really care about this”, said Brooke Williams.
“Weather permitting, the Stockade Hill Defencibles will be out again this coming Saturday and would love for everyone to come down and add their messages to the amazing wonder wall,” said Fox.
Meanwhile, Andries Popping, deputy chair of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association, said it was great to see young Howickians last Saturday morning writing messages of support
He said four large boards have already been filled with messages to Auckland Council asking them to preserve Stockade Hills Views for all to enjoy.
The commissioners and council officers will be the only ones able to speak at Monday’s hearing.
“Save Stockade Hills Views campaigners are hoping for a large turnout to show the Commissioners how much Howickians young and old, care about Stockade Hill,” he said.
- Monday’s final hearing is at 9.30am on July 16 at Fencible Lounge at Howick Library.