Obscured By Clouds


So what now for The Cloud?

The word on the street is that now the Government has said it’s over to Auckland to do what it wishes, there is a strong reluctance to tear it down, we’ll keep it for at least another five years, but no one seems to have a clear view of what use it will have.

BIZARRE: "I wandered lonely as a cloud " watching rugby on TV

The Cloud, we may recall, was thrust on us good folk by the Government who were under the impression, aided by the powerful IRB, that people needed somewhere prominent to drink and watch the games.

The Cloud: From a distance it's interesting...

It would serve as a visible marketing enticement to the RWC on the re-invented Queens Wharf along with the tarting up of an the old shed as literally a booze barn of old.

The term Party Central with its binge alcohol connotations was cleverly worked out of the language and replaced by the more family friendly term RWC Fanzone and billed as a place people could watch the TV matches on a big screen.

FANZONE: Party Central morphed into the RWC Fanzone but it was still a place to drink

In the end, the nation got collectively into the RWC so it did not need extra marketing but some people did feel the need to have a shared experience somewhere while watching the games.

The Queens Wharf become especially a fashionable new place for typically faddish there-to-be-seen locals who deserted their Ponsonby haunts plunging those businesses into financial hardship during the Cup.

The Cloud, made of structural steel, timber, opaque fabric PVC, glass and clear ETFE, is interesting but not an iconic waterfront Sydney Opera House for Auckland.

Even the most sceptical like me have found it has certainly strangely grown on me especially when viewed from the Devonport ferry or a distance.

THE CLOUD: Hang out, drink, watch TV, look cool

During the RWC, it acted as a TV media centre for SKY to broadcast from and also served a good purpose as a trade exhibit area for overseas visitors and for the Pacific island leaders forum held just before the RWC got underway.

INSIDE: The Cloud was used for the Pacific Islands expo

But as an expo place, it’s relatively small and competes with the new nearby Viaduct Events Centre at Wynyard Quarter.

Anyway Sky City plans Auckland’s main international exhibition area with their gifted convention centre in return for some casino concessions from the Government.

Shed 10 was given a $4 million makeover, painted, repaired to make the roof watertight, given new doors,and power, water and telco connections added to the nearly 100-year-old building.

SHED 10: A real Kiwi booze barn

That now seems destined to act as the customs processing shed for the fast-growing cruise ship industry until a proper cruise terminal is build on Queens or Captain Cook wharf.

A look at the rough edges of our unplanned CBD landscape reveals sadly that Auckland is a city that has had various projects forced on it as some whim of the moment or bad planning decision.

Should we thank Murray for The Cloud and find some use for it or dismantle it as happened to the big rugby ball yesterday?

Or say no more temporary fixes until we have the proper debate about Auckland’s precious waterfront, led by the draft waterfront Plan?

I think we should do something uncharacteristic in Auckland planning and take a deep breath and think carefully before doing anything. Your thoughts?




  1. sj says:

    When Queens Wharf was first opened to the public, Mike Lee said it would become “the people’s wharf”. Now the entire eastern side of the wharf is to become a cruise ship terminal, and the western side - if the Cloud is ever removed - seems destined to become a swimming pool (seriously, it’s in the waterfront plan)! Much as I like swimming, a pool is not a public square.

    All the proposals for Queen’s Wharf are for private properties, just like Princes Wharf. Some people’s wharf! The “people” might get a lookout at the end if they’re lucky.

  2. Mark says:

    @sj is right - need to shift Cruise terminal idea first.

    Any time there is a ship in, whole wharf is closed - for transport customs etc. Once that’s agreed, we can plan properly. Shed should be opened up and extended on western side for cafes/bars - and inside needs a proper renonvation.

    The cloud removed, and proper usable open space set up.

  3. John Dalley says:

    I still liked the idea of Marsden Wharf? being extended and turned in to a cruise ship terminal. Extend it, return the shed they removed from Queens wharf in a refurbished form. Leave the clo9ud where it is and dolly up the rest of Queens up in to an outdoor area for the residents of Auckland to use on a daily basis.

  4. Helianthus says:

    The trouble with choosing wharfs for cruise terminals is the depth of the water. Queens wharf has been earmarked because it has one of the deepest bottoms beside it. If the terminal has to be there then perhaps they should redesign the area so that it’s a building with security and the rest of the wharf is a public space.

  5. Geoff Houtman says:

    Out damned spot! You have stained our waterfront for long enough.

    If we can’t wrap it round the Rena- let’s give it to CHCH.

    The whole Cloud/ Slug was a waste of 9.something million dollars.
    And forced on us by the Gummint.
    And a competitor to the VEC (not the “Old Vec”, the “New VEC”).

    Mark and sj have it right- the damn thing will sit there for 15 years “temporarily” and be used as a “temporary” Cruise Terminal during which time Queens Wharf will be off limits “temporarily”.

    Mutter gnash gnash

  6. James says:

    i did like the cloud but if they want a cruise ship terminal there and have it open for public use they will need to build a second building, maybe an extension to the cloud which is closed of for general public with elevated stairs for the ships to load/unload passengers.

  7. Jordan says:

    Yes! Give it to Christchurch! ASAP

  8. Kieran says:

    Had a function in shed 10 on tuesday night and the cloud is completely empty inside. They’ve even removed the lights…


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>