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New Mahurangi parkland provides unrivalled access to harbour

Published: 12 February 2020

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Auckland Council purchases new parkland at Mahurangi

Ninety-five hectares of prime land on the Mahurangi Harbour has been purchased by Auckland Council, doubling the size of the existing Mahurangi East Regional Park and securing public access to the coast.

Mayor Phil Goff and Cr Alf Filipaina, Chair of the Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Culture and Events Committee, have announced the land purchase, made possible by significant philanthropic funding.

Mayor Goff says, “It’s fantastic to be adding 95 hectares of beautiful coastal parkland to Auckland’s public open space, one of the biggest additions in recent years.

“For an investment of just under $12 million, Aucklanders will gain access to the bays, inlets and ridged peninsula of the Mahurangi Harbour as well as, for the first time, land access to the existing park on the Peninsula.

“As the city grows, it is critical that we secure some of the most beautiful underdeveloped areas to be enjoyed by future generations of Aucklanders in perpetuity. It’s a great natural legacy for our region.

“I acknowledge the generosity of the John Turnbull and Margaret Turnbull Trusts in contributing around 45 per cent of the cost of the acquisition,” says Mayor Goff.

The property, which has been on the council’s regional parks acquisition plan since the early 1990s, was acquired for $11,750,000. The trustees of the (individual) trusts of John and Margaret Turnbull have provided $5,287,500, almost half the purchase price of the property.

Trustee Chris Gambrill says securing and protecting public parkland in perpetuity is an appropriate use of funding from the John Turnbull and Margaret Turnbull trusts.

“John and Margaret Turnbull would be delighted that contributions from the trusts are going towards ensuring that this beautiful slice of the Mahurangi is protected for future generations,” says Mr Gambrill.

Boost to recreation opportunities in Mahurangi

Cr Alf Filipaina says park acquisition of this scale is not often seen, given the price tag of quality land – often coastal – that meets the council’s criteria.

“The benefits this property offers, in terms of recreational opportunities and protecting open space, made it a high priority for acquisition.

“The development opportunities for this park include mountain biking and walking trails, camping and bach accommodation, swimming, boating and picnicking – all in keeping with the wilderness-type experiences of our other regional parks.

Auckland Council owns and manages 27 regional parks across the Auckland region, totalling more than 40,000 hectares. (Te Muri Regional Park is not yet open to the public).

“Like additions to the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and Te Rau Puriri Regional Park in recent years, this acquisition adds to land already owned by the council, effectively doubling Mahurangi East Regional Park in size,” says Cr Filipaina.

Rodney Ward Councillor Greg Sayers says Rodney’s regional parks are a special feature of the northern part of the region.

“Rodney is blessed with a fine selection of regional parks and visitors to this area are spoilt for choice with Te Ārai, Pākiri, Tāwharanui, Scandrett and Mahurangi forming stepping stones along our north eastern coastline.

“They are extremely popular spots too with campgrounds booked out throughout summer, baches firm family favourites and the tracks and trails heavily used.

“Given the projected growth in our area, we know that having more open space will be welcomed,” he says. 

Rodney Local Board Chair Phelan Pirrie says his board supports the expansion and enhancement of this park, noting the benefits to local residents.

“Visit nearby Scotts Landing or our beach communities at Martins Bay, Algies Bay and Snells Beach and you’ll see plenty of people and activity, especially in the summer months.

“Further opportunities to access the harbour, enjoy the beaches and stretch your legs can only be of benefit to our local residents,” says Mr Pirrie.

Conservation values offer opportunities

Parks portfolio holder Cr Christine Fletcher notes the conservation values and opportunities for this park.

“One of the most important attributes of our parks and green spaces is their contribution to conservation.

“This property is noted as having outstanding natural landscape and natural character values that we can enhance with dedicated conservation work over the coming decades.

“The proximity to our Hauraki Gulf islands and jewels like the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary, connected by local parks and reserves, and people’s back yards, makes the opportunities limitless,” she says.

Development of this parkland will require a management plan and options will be canvassed with the public. Access roads, and basic infrastructure like fencing, signage and toilets, will need to be installed before the parkland can be opened to the public. No dates for a public opening have been confirmed.

An Order in Council will be sought from the Minister of Local Government. This sees the park protected in perpetuity as a regional park.

About Mahurangi East Regional Park

  • The property was purchased for $11,750,000. Fifty-five per cent of the purchase price was funded by the council and forty-five per cent came from the trusts of John Turnbull and Margaret Turnbull
  • The property is 95 hectares in size and adjoins existing parkland at Mahurangi East – Sadler Point
  • The existing parkland was purchased by the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA) in 1970. This consisted of land between Big Bay and Lagoon Bay, 92 hectares, and a small parcel at Scott Point just around the harbour where the historic Scott Homestead can be visited
  • The existing parkland (apart from Scott Point) currently has no formal road access and can only be reached by boat or kayak. It includes quaint Big Bay Bach and Vine House.
Read more: Parks Rodney

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