And so another year of new normalcy draws to an end. 2021 was quite the time: there have been some challenges, some curve balls, some, (ahem), lockdowns to contend with. But despite all that – on gimlet-eyed review – there were a few silver clouds floating discreetly about. We hope you’ll indulge us a wee highlights reel.
22 Dec 2021
Ockham 2021 End-of-Year Wrap. A year like no other (except 2020, sort of)
Aroha underway, Manaaki makes its mark
February saw us breaking ground at Aroha, our 117-unit build in Avondale, and our third project in partnership with Marutūāhu. The launch of Manaaki in Onehunga, No. 4 in the partnership, followed. It went well – so well in fact that we broke the internet (or, our corner of the internet at least). With 87 KiwiBuild apartments on offer at Manaaki, appointments with our sales team flew off the shelf. “I knew these were going to be popular, but not to that extent,” said stunned sales siren Joss Lewis.
Ground broken at Greenhouse! Aalto arrives
The bustling start to the year continued with The Greenhouse, our flagship building in Ponsonby, breaking ground in March. With the Manaaki momentum at our back, another launch – Aalto, our Morningside marvel, named for Finnish designer Alvar Aalto, was unveiled in late April. The appeal was obvious – modernist design, close to transport, communal facilities for days. "Ockham is re-committing to thinking about how people want to live in apartments," Hannah Chiaroni-Clarke said at the launch. "Aalto is an example of the power and the benefit of collective living." An instant hit, the 39 units at Aalto became our fastest-selling development to date.
Ockhams go live
Before we knew what had happened, May was here and with it, The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, widely held by us to be the greatest book awards in the worlds. It was the night of nights! Whanganui writer Airini Beautrais took home the $57,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, for her astounding book of short stories, Bug Week (“Casting a devastating and witty eye on humanity at its most fallible and wonky, this is a tightly-wound and remarkably assured collection,” enthused convenor of judges, Kiran Dass). If you’re looking for that last-minute Christmas gift, we commend Bug Weekly to you.
Kōkihi opens, to the delight of all
Perhaps the highlight of highlights, we opened Kōkihi, our second build with Marutūāhu, in June, three months ahead of schedule. We can’t even pretend to humblebrag about this one: we're just darn proud. A handsome crowd gathered at the three-building Waterview development, then hastily shuffled below to the basement carpark for speeches amidst an untimely monsoon. “Beautiful homes, beautiful places and beautiful communities,” proclaimed Marutūāhu Iwi chair, Paul Majurey. "There's an emphasis here on quality communities and homes and not on money – and also some very long-term aspirations around the built environment and leaving a legacy for Tamaki Makaurau,”
Minister for Housing Megan Woods was equally effusive. “The partnership has maximized the use of the land and increased the supply of new homes by constructing 95 high-quality apartments on land where seven homes once stood,” she said. “We have taken seven homes and created 95 new places where dreams can be fulfilled, and children can grow up, and people can make their lives."
Koa Flats enters the chat
July saw us launching Koa Flats, our boutique (a fancier word for 'cute' we reckon) development in Meadowbank, a leisurely nature-filled stroll from the Orākei Basin. As designer Hannah Chiaroni-Clarke put it: “I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was… a cute apartment on a quiet residential street, a block away from a lagoon, the Basin, that you can walk or bike or train over to get to the city sounds amazing!” To the surprise of no-one, the 14 apartments at Koa Flats sold out, pronto.
We all know what happened in August…
With Delta reaching our fair city and a rapid dive into Level Four, we knew the drill. Tools down on site, Zoom face on, an uneasy lull falling over Tāmaki Makaurau.
… But we picked up and kept going
When Auckland returned to Level 3 in September, we were back on site. In fact, after restrictions eased, we kicked off action on three of our developments – Manaaki, Aalto, and Koa Flats. Together with Aroha, Star Newton (our soon-to-be-finished build-to-rent in Arch Hill), and The Greenhouse off Ponsonby Road, we now have an unprecedented six sites on the go at once.
It’s enough to make Ockham captain Mark Todd’s eye glisten. “I am beyond proud of how we’ve come through this time as a company,” he reflects. “To see all of us pulling out all the stops... the Project Managers, the Architecture Team, our stellar Sales team, everyone doing the mahi on our builds, even our angst-ridden writers… I couldn’t be more thankful to have such talented people on board.”
In fact, what with all this activity aflutter, we’ve added to our flock. Forty-one new employees have joined us over the year, 19 of them since October. “We’ve got big things coming up in the new year,” the captain continues. “As we grow, we’re building – and I don’t mean just on site. We’re creating ourselves as a company, too.”
Two ruru a-chirping, green bricks a-laying...
Lastly, we must give a final shout-out to the Ockham People’s Choice Winner at the NZ Geo Photographer of the Year Awards. Grant Nicholson’s suburb snap of two fledgling ruru – two mini morepi – nesting in an Auckland bush reserve was just plain adorable. Impeccably captured, they look a little like how we felt when lockdown ended, to be honest – wide-eyed, bouffy-haired, mildly harassed.
As the year winds down we’re gazing upon the bricks we’ve picked out for The Greenhouse – you can swing by our sales suite in Surrey Cres and admire them too – dreaming of Pōhutukawa trees, pavlova, and some beachy days.
Photo gallery: Adrian Malloch