In November 1989, as part of a nation-wide round of local government reform, Manukau City amalgamated with Papatoetoe City and Howick Borough. Manukau City Centre thus became the administrative centre of a city of 219,500 people.
During the harsh economic times of the early 1990s the city suffered some reverses. In 1994 developers proposed building a ‘Superdome’ on a site to the south of the city centre. These plans never came to fruition, nor did similar plans for a Polynesian-theme tourist village. During the late 1980s and early 1990s a number of the manufacturing concerns in the Wiri industrial area closed down. Particular blows to the city were the closure of the Vehicle Assemblies NZ plant in March 1997 and the Nissan assembly plant in July 1998.
In October 1997, however, the first stage of the Manukau SuperClinic was opened to the south of the city centre. In September 1998 Manukau City Council sponsored a Manukau City Centre Development forum, the first step of a project aimed at revitalizing the city centre.
During the millennium year 2000 the eastern and western parts of the city were symbolically linked by the opening of Te Irirangi Drive between Manukau City Centre and Botany Town Centre.
Another significant event of the year was the unveiling of Richard Shortland Cooper’s Millennium sculpture on the corner of Wiri Station Road and Great South Road on 2 September 2000. This work symbolized the youthful nature and changing ethnic composition of Manukau City. Towards the end of the year the Manukau District Court building was opened on Wiri Station Road.
In 1991 the ‘Renaissance Centre’ was launched, the city centre’s first high-rise apartment building. (This was beaten for the title of tallest structure in the city by the opening of the 18-storey ‘Fear Fall’ at Rainbow’s End in August 2001).
Aerial photograph of Manukau City Centre, 30 May 1992, looking westward towards the Manukau Harbour. (Air Logistics photograph no. 14-117-07, courtesy of Aerial Survey)
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