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Tamaki transformation boss keen to work with the community

ESTHER LAUAKI
Last updated 08:30 19/10/2012

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One of Debra Lawson's first priorities in Tamaki is getting to know its people.

She's the chief executive of the country's first urban regeneration programme and has been in the hot seat for just over a month.

Tamaki Redevelopment Company is the firm jointly formed by the Government and Auckland Council, which is responsible for delivering the Tamaki Transformation Programme.

The wide-ranging scheme will see Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure transformed over the next 15 to 25 years.

"It's always been more than a job for me. It's a big challenge," Ms Lawson says.

"There's a huge amount of positivity in this area about change. I've learned a lot by listening and I think it's really important to listen to people.

"So many people have already contributed their ideas, passion and energy to get us to this point," she says. "I am looking forward to continuing that journey and helping to bring the Tamaki vision to a reality."

She's worked on large-scale urban regeneration projects for the last 20 years in South London.

Her first taste of community activism was when she joined the Battersea residents' association at 14 years old and protested against a regeneration project in her neighbourhood.

"I have strong values about community and people. I believe you have to change things from the inside out and in partnership with the the government, council and community."

Housing lobbyist groups have been protesting against the Housing New Zealand redevelopment in northern Glen Innes.

"Currently the Housing New Zealand redevelopment is not part of our programme. I can appreciate the residents' situation and I understand their reasons for protest. It shows they care about their community and I value that," Ms Lawson says.

"In my experience, the most successful urban regeneration programmes are those that fully engage the local community."

She says the Tamaki Transformation Programme is a series of interlinking and complementary economic, social, urban space and housing projects leading to transformation.

See tamakitransformation. co.nz for more information.

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- East And Bays Courier

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