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Our Muriwai-inspired Logo in light of our Muriwai Project for 2024


Muriwai’s homes were destroyed by Cyclone Gabrielle, but the community’s determination has never been more driven.

When we think of Muriwai, we automatically reflect on those times we would hear our parents say, “Let’s have a beach day at Muriwai”, and we would think that it was the best day of our lives. There was nothing like the long drives through nature’s native landscapes, popping our heads out the window, letting everything run free and then finally arriving to the sound of crashing waves and a warm sun-kissed breeze.

That’s until early January 2023 saw a community that once was, turn into an area filled with written-off cars and years of memories submerged in mountains of mud. Cyclone Gabrielle raided with anger through Aotearoa leaving Muriwai with permanent scars of deadly landslides, destroyed roads and communities broken by the sight of 130 whare being red-stickered due to severe damages. There are more stickered homes in Muriwai than anywhere else in Auckland.


 Trow Group is no stranger to the significant aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle. As soon as it was safe to leave our homes, we joined with Auckland Civil Defence and cleared out general rubbish and affected furniture etc. from hundreds of affected South Auckland homes.

The methods and experiences we took from this, will play a huge role in our Deconstruction blueprint for Muriwai. Though our mission was to only clear rubbish from South Aucklander’s properties, we also took the initiative to get to know the homeowners, the stories of their homes, the memories of being brought up in that same home amongst many other significant ties to the land. 

We are so ready to bring our deconstruction methodology to Muriwai in 2024, Actively contributing to the revitalization of Muriwai by putting sustainability, a circular economy and the love for the community at the heart of our processes. We are committed to salvaging materials from our projects, and creating wealth to put back into the community. We can’t wait to take you all with us on this journey of rediscovering and regenerating that life, energy and piece of mind into place that once was everyones escape from reality. 




This column will be updated weekly with any recent progress on projects, photos and other relevant notices. Be sure to keep tuning in to hear the latest

If you missed any updates from previous weeks, you can find each week’s summaries below:


10th June – 14th June 2024


Late last night we started to relocate a home on Domain Crescent (11th June). Due to the complexity, we had to park it up at a quarry for the night to then continue relocating tonight. This means that the relocation that was scheduled today (12th June as per the notice above) has not been pushed to tomorrow night as we are continuing to relocate the home from yesterday’s relocation. See below the full updated agenda:


Continuing to Relocate home from Quarry


Thursday 12th June

Relocate Cabin on Domain Crescent


 NOTE: All work tonight and tomorrow night will commence at 10pm till 12am 


 This information is a direct statement of information within the Auckland Regional Council’s Muriwai Regional Park Management Plan in 1994, titled “History of Human Occupation and Archaeology”.

We have collated some very important historical events from this document to help ourselves and everyone understand further the whenua of Muriwai

The name "Muriwai"

“The study area is today referred to as ‘Muriwai’, although this name did not come into common usage until the 1920s. ‘Muriwai’ or literally the “backwater or lagoon was a name that was traditionally applied to the lower portion of the Muriwai Stream that is located on the northern edge of the regional parkland. What is now Muriwai Beach was traditionally known as Te One

Rangatira’ or The Chiefly Beach It extended from Papakanui Spit at the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour to Tokaraerae (Flat Rock) forty kilometres to the south.”

First Occupancy of People & Martori Rock

The first people to occupy the area were the Turehu’ or literally those who ‘arose from the earth’. These people, who were the first occupants of Te Ika Roa a Maui (the North Island), are seen by Tangata Whenua as their earliest ancestors in the district. The earliest known ancestor specifically associated with the Motutara area was a renowned rangatira or chieftain known as Takamiro.

He, like his famous contemporary Tiriwa, lived in a number of places between Motutara and Whatipu, although he generally occupied the headland that dominates Muriwai Regional Park. This landmark, and the pa which was constructed on it, are still referred to as ‘O-Takamiro’ or ‘the dwelling place of Takamiro’. Both Tiriwa and Takamiro were leaders credited in tradition with great spiritual power, and with the ability to modify the landscape.

During one gathering of Turehu tohunga, or spiritual leaders, Takamirocast off his maro (a short kilt-like garment) and threw it in the air. It flew southward and landed at Whatipu where it was transformed into a rock known as ‘Martori’ or ‘the maro that was thrown’

Natural Resources

The natural resources that still attract people to Muriwai Regional Park today, made the area an
attractive place to occupy in the pre-European era. It was also a place of great strategic
importance because of its geographic location. The study area was located at the southern end of Te One Rangatira (Muriwai Beach) which was an important routeway until the mid-nineteenth century. At Motutara routeways turned inland to the Waitemata-Kaipara portage and also to the eastern foothills of the Waitakere Ranges where a pathway led to Waikumete (Little Muddy Creek) on the northern shores of the Manukau Harbour.

Although much of what is now the northern portion of the regional parkland consisted of the large expanse of sand dunes known as ‘Oneonenui’, the area offered a rich array of natural resources to its human occupants. They included the resources of both the land and the sea as is illustrated in the following Whakatauki or proverbial saying:

“He wha tawhara ki uta, he kiko tamure ki tai”

“The flowering bracts of the kiekie on the land, the flesh of the snapper in the sea”

Food Resources

The food resources that made Muriwai special, both in the distant and recent past, were those found on its coastline. From the rocky coast south of Tokaraerae (FlatRock) and the offshore reef known as Pekakuku’, a wide variety of Kaimoana was harvested. These delicacies included:

Kutae (mussels)
Kotore moana (sea anemones)
Asrimurapa (kelp)

From the sandy coastline came the tuatua and the source for which Te One Rangatira was justly renowned -the toheroa. Tradition records that the Kawerau rangatira Te Au o Te Whenua had toheroa dried at Muriwaiand presented as a gift to his relatives who occupied the Upper Waitemata Harbour area. They, in turn, reciprocated with gifts of a special dried eel found in the Paremoremo and Waikotukutuku (Whenuapai) areas. (Te Whirowhiro in Graham 1914:4). A wide variety of fish was available from the sea, with Te Tokaraerae (FlatRock) and Pekakuku Reef being favourite fishing spots over the centuries, as they still are today.

Tangata Whenua

“Te Kawerau a Maki are the tangata whenua
(people of the land) of Waitakere City, who hold
customary authority or mana whenua within the city.
Te Kawerau a Maki descend from the earliest
inhabitants of the area. However, the Kawerau a
Maki people have been a distinct tribal entity since
the early 1600s, when their ancestor Maki and his
people conquered and settled the district.
Maki and a large group of his Ngati Awa
followers from Taranaki migrated northward to the
Auckland isthmus. Ultimately Maki and his people
conquered the Auckland isthmus and the land as far
north as the Kaipara harbour.

The people of
Waitakere retained the name of Te Kawerau a Maki
as their tribal name. Other descendants of Maki
adopted their own tribal names, such as Ngati
Manuhiri and Ngati Kahupara. Maki’s great
grandson Te Au o Te Whenua came to control all of
the land between Muriwai and the Manukau

Following the establishment of Ngati Whatua in
the Kaipara area (1700s), the Kawerau people were
pushed southward and subjected to a major invasion
– ‘Te Raupatu Tihore’ of ‘the conquest that laid
bare’. This ‘taua’, or war party, was not seeking
territory and its members were in fact closely related
to the Kawerau people of Waitakere. They were
seeking ‘utu’ or revenge for several unacceptable
killings. After the conquest they withdrew to the
southern Kaipara. Kawharu, the leader of this taua,
who was from the Waikato, was killed by Te
Kawerau in the southern Kaipara. There were a
number of other battles between Ngati Whatua, and
the northwestern tribal boundary of Te Kawerau a
Maki was eventually established at ‘Te Taupaki’ or
‘the firmly bound peace’, a spot on the cliffs south of Te Henga beach.”


Reference: Tangata Whenua – Policy Section – District Plan

Motutara Road in the 1900s

In the early 1900’s the Motutara area remained isolated with access being along a ‘bullock road’ that was impassable in wet weather. It was not until 1914 that a road to the area was formally surveyed, and not until 1918 that it was ‘formed It was for this reason that the large properties near Motutara remained as extensive pastoral runs at a time when farms nearer to Waimauku were running dairy herds supplying the localWaitemata Dairy Co factory established in 1904. The largest of these properties was the farm developed by the Hon. Sir Edwin Mitchelson in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Born in Auckland in 1846, Sir Edwin had founded a flourishing Kauri gum and timber milling business based at Aoroa near Dargaville. He was MP for Marsden 1882-1887 and Eden 1887-1896, during which time he held the positions of minister of Public Works and Native Affairs, Postmaster-General, Commissioner of Customs and Electric Telegraph Commissioner. On retirement from national politics Sir Edwin was very active in Auckland’s local body politics being Mayor of Auckland 1903-1905, and Chairman of the Auckland Harbour Board 1905-1909.


There are a variety of Native plant life specifies that surround and fill the beautiful landscape of Muriwai. For the residence of Muriwai these natural treasure are in the backyards of almost every home. Lets take a look at some of the most common ones:


Coprosma macrocarpa subsp. minor

What is it?

Shrub with pairs of dark green glossy pointed leaves inhabiting coastal forests of the northern half of the North Island. Leaves to 12cm long, widest at middle, paler underneath. Small papery sheath on stem between the base of the pairs of leaves. Fruit orange, clustered on short stems.

Calystegia soldanella (shore bindweed, shore convolvulus, rauparaha)

What is it?

Perennial herb with stout, white, deeply descending, fleshy roots and numerous prostrate branching stems forming dense patches. Stems glabrous. Coastal or inland along lake shorelines. Usually in sand or shell banks but also grows in fine gravel or pumice, talus slopes and on occasion in coastal turf or on cliff faces.

Corynocarpus laevigatus (karaka, kopi)

What is it?

Large tree about as wide as tall with many thick dark green glossy leaves and large oval orange fruit. Bark dark, with dark spots on trunk. Leaves 10-20cm long, paler underneath. Fruit to 4cm long, oval, in dense sprays, flesh thin.

Geniostoma ligustrifolium var. ligustrifolium (hangehange)

What is it?

Shrub bearing pale green pointed leaves that are silvery pale underneath. Leaves thin, 5-7cm long by 2-3cm wide. Flowers small, green, slightly hairy, in clusters at base of leaf. Fruit a dry capsule splitting in two to showing the small orange seeds

Melicytus ramiflorus subsp. ramiflorus (māhoe, hinahina, whitey wood)

What is it?

Common small tree with a knobbly pale trunk and thin light green toothed leaves that have the vein network much more visible on the paler underside. Leaves 5-20cm long, tapering to tip. Flowers greenish, in clusters along twigs. Fruit purple.Shrub with pairs of dark green glossy pointed leaves inhabiting coastal forests of the northern half of the North Island. Leaves to 12cm long, widest at middle, paler underneath. Small papery sheath on stem between the base of the pairs of leaves. Fruit orange, clustered on short stems.

Metrosideros excelsa (pōhutukawa)

What is it?

Large sprawling mainly coastal tree with leathery oval leaves, bearing masses of red bristly flowers over Christmas. Naturally occurring north of Poverty Bay and north Taranaki, but can be now found as far south as Dunedin. Branches sprawling up to around 20 metres, often with masses of dangling reddish rootlets.

Myoporum laetum

What is it?

Large sprawling mainly coastal tree with leathery oval leaves, bearing masses of red bristly flowers over Christmas. Naturally occurring north of Poverty Bay and north Taranaki, but can be now found as far south as Dunedin. Branches sprawling up to around 20 metres, often with masses of dangling reddish rootlets.

More Tree's & Shrubs Here
  • Piper excelsum subsp. excelsum
    (kawakawa, pepper tree)

Fleshy shrub with jointed dark twigs bearing large dark green glossy heart-shaped leaves with hard green flower spikes inhabiting south to Banks Peninsula. Leaves to 120mm wide, veins radiating from middle, peppery to taste, often with insect holes. Fruit orange.

  • Pittosporum crassifolium

Bushy small tree with greyish leathery oval leaves that are white underneath and clusters of small dark red flowers and large hard green fuzzy capsules inhabiting upper North Island. Leaves 5-7cm long, margins often rolled under. Fruit 2-3cm wide, splitting into three to display the black seeds in a yellow pith.

  • Pseudopanax lessonii

Coastal tree with fleshy hand-shaped leaves


Muehlenbeckia complexa var. complexa

What is it?

This variety has the usual tangled mass of wiry stems, with curious fiddle-shapeed leaves. Useful wide-ranging ground cover in sun to part-shade and well-drained soil.

Tetragonia trigyna
(native spinach)

What is it?

Prostrate or scrambling subshrub forming straggling to dense leafy patches up to 4 m long. Stems long trailing, terete, initially somewhat succulent, and often coloured red or pink, maturing dark green to brown-black and becoming woody with age. Leaves alternate, often clustered, sometimes widely spaced along stems, fleshy, papillose

Apodasmia similis (jointed wire rush, oioi)

What is it?

Dioecious, rush-like perennial herb. Rhizomes 3–7 mm diameter, covered in closely sheathing, imbricating, dark brown scales, 10–20 mm long, each enclosing a tuft of coarse brown hairs. Culms numerous, 0.5–2.6 × 1.5–2.5–(3.0) mm, densely packed, erect, sometimes with upper third decurved to more or less pendulous, simple, terete, glaucous, grey-green, yellow-green or red-green. Leaves reduced to bract-like sheaths, these dark brown or maroon-black, regularly spaced at 70–90 mm intervals at the base of the culm, 10–60 mm apart higher up; margins entire

Carex flagellifera (Glen Murray tussock, trip me up)

What is it?

Usually densely tufted, dark green, yellow-green to red-green plants. Culms 350–750–(900) × 0.5–1.0 mm, or slightly wider, close-packed, trigonous or sub trigonous, smooth or slightly scabrid for a short distance below inflorescence, usually elongating in fruit up to c. 2.8 m, initially erect, soon prostrate and long trailing; basal sheaths dark brown, occasionally tinged with red-purple

Pyrrosia elaeagnifolia (leather-leaf fern, pyrrosia)

What is it?

Epiphytic or rupestral rhizomatous fern. Rhizomes long-creeping, often densely interwoven, young portions densely invested in red-brown to fawn coloured scales. Stipes reduced to phyllopodia borne in intervals along rhizome. Fronds coriaceous, fleshy to almost succulent, undivided. adaxially yellow-green to dark green (rarely glaucescent), glabrescent, initially sparsely covered in long straight to somewhat flexuous pale-yellow to translucent caducous hairs; abaxially densely covered in fawn or white-coloured stellate hairs, aside from midrib, veins not evident on either surface

Carex testacea
(speckled sedge, trip me up)

What is it?

usually dark red to orange-red sedge. Culms < or > leaves, often exceedingly elongated at maturity, up to 2 m long, trailing, prostrate, < 1 mm diameter, often almost filiform, trigonous or sub trigonous, glabrous or slightly scabrid below the inflorescence; basal sheaths dark brown or red-brown, nerves distinct. Leaves 1.0–2.5–(3.0) mm wide, channelled, usually reddish or orange-green, sometimes slight green, harshly scabrid

Ficinia nodosa(wiwi, knobby club rush, ethel sedge)

What is it?

Rhizome short, 5–10 mm diameter, ascending to subhorizontal, woody, covered with red-brown bracts 5–10 mm long. Culms numerous, somewhat woody, 0.15–2.0 m, 1–2 mm diameter, yellow-green to bronze-green, densely packed on rhizome, rush-like, rigid and erect (sometimes in lush specimens with upper third curving over), terete or slightly compressed, finely striated when dry.


More Tree's & Shrubs Here
  • Isolepis cernua var. cernua
    (slender clubrush)

Variable in size, in dense tufts or with a shortly branched ascending rhizome. Culms 20–200 mm long, usually c. 0.5 mm. diameter or less, but occasionally up to 1 mm diameter. Leaves 1–4 or 0, ± = culms, or much < culms, c. 0.5 mm wide, or often reduced to shortly mucronate sheaths; sheaths dark red-purple at the base, lighter brown towards the truncate orifice. Inflorescence of 1–(2–3) spikelets; subtending bract or usually slightly spikelets, 3–25 mm long, setaceous or leaf-like, caducous. Spikelets 2.0–5.0 × 1.0–2.5 mm, elliptical, obtuse, almost white, or green, or with red-brown markings. Glumes 1–2 mm.

  • Machaerina juncea
    (sedge, tussock swamp twig rush)

Tufted, rush-like, rhizomatous perennial. Rhizome 3–10 mm diameter, woody, usually shortly creeping, sometimes greatly elongated, covered with loose, papery, imbricate, light brown bracts. Culms 0.2–1.35 tall, 1.0–3.5 mm wide, arising in mostly short- spaced (crowded) tufts along rhizome, terete, rigid, erect, smooth, glaucous to glaucescent, with 1–2 distant nodes. Leaves all reduced to light brown or reddish sheathing bracts, the lowermost smaller, mucronate, the upper 1–3 longer, distant along the culm, usually dark brown at the orifice, with a small, sickle-shaped, laterally flattened mucro-like lamina up to 5 mm long. Inflorescence 25–100 mm long, stiff, erect, spike-like, sparingly branched, subtended by a much shorter sheathing bract. Spikelets not fascicled, 4–5 mm long, red-brown, 1–2-flowered, only the lowest flowers fertile. Glumes 4–5, oblong-lanceolate, acute, membranous, streaked with brown, scabrid on the keel and towards the tip.

  • Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

Rhizome 3–8 mm diameter, horizontal, hard and woody, red-brown, with loose papery, grey, well spaced, scales, 20 mm long; roots numerous, fibrous, reddish. Culms 0.6–3.0 m, 3–10 mm diameter, crowded or distant on rhizome, terete with spongy pith. Leaves reduced to loose, grey-brown, papery sheaths at base of culms, the uppermost to 350 mm long. Inflorescence seemingly lateral, comprised of numerous spikelets in a cymose irregular umbel, primary rays 10–60 mm long, scabrid; subtending terete bract.

  • Asplenium oblongifolium
    (huruhuruwhenua, shining spleenwort)

Rhizome stout, often forming a hard woody mass above ground, bearing pale brown, shiny, ovate, acuminate scales up to 30 × 7 mm. Stipes 80–200 mm long, dark brown, stout, densely covered in narrow scales with very long filiform apices. Laminae oblong to elliptic, 180 mm – 1 m × 100–350 mm wide, dark green and glossy above, pinnate. Rachis brown below, green above, stout, slightly ridged, scaly. Pinnae 4–15 pairs, lanceolate to narrowly oblong or ovate, acuminate, crenate-serrate to ± entire, cuneate at base, 40–150 × 10–30 mm, frequently covered in very small hair-like scales on the underside. Sori up to 20 mm long, not reaching lamina edge.


The district of Muriwai was formed 17 million years ago when a volcano 1000 metres below the ocean surface started to form an island, which now forms the Waitakere Ranges to the south of the beach.


Deconstruction is made up of many different processes and methods. One of the more sentimental elements of Deconstruction is the ability to share the stories, lineage and history of every project. This ensures that all history behind these projects is acknowledged, creating a tangible connection to the past. This is why we want to hear from you! Let us know your stories about Muriwai, whether that is as a Local, a Property Owner, a Local Business or an environmental activist of Muriwai. We would love to help you share your kaupapa!

Link to form


Below is a calculator that LIVE tracks the number of tonnes we have salvaged so far across all muriwai projects.

coming soon…