Stronger future for Beach Haven recreational wharf

Publish Date : 11 May 2021
Stronger future for Beach Haven recreational wharf2
A aerial shot of the wharf taken several years ago. Photo STF Group.

Work has started on a major project to make the much-loved Beach Haven recreational wharf in Hilders Park stronger and safer for generations to come.

The picturesque timber wharf is popular with boaties, swimmers and anglers from near and far however the impact of the marine environment has caused serious deterioration of the seaward portion of the structure. 

This has made it a safety hazard and the loading platforms have been closed to the public since 2018.  

Kaipātiki Local Board chair John Gillon says news the work is finally getting underway will be well received by locals after a long wait.

“The local board is really happy to finally get this work underway and that it will be ready for people to use by summer.

“Unfortunately we had a number of unexpected delays due to design changes to ensure the heritage integrity, new health and safety requirements, delays with consents and delivery of parts, and then of course lockdown.

“I’m especially pleased about the new pontoon at the end of the wharf that will help to compensate for Frank Larking’s playboat no longer being in the water.”

The project will involve:

  • Demolishing a section of the existing structure and rebuilding it
  • Encasing the existing piles to protect the timber and so that they are stronger and last longer
  • New feature to increase the strength of the structure,
  • New decking, handrail and seat
  • New gangway and concrete pontoon.

The seat that was previously situated on the pontoon will not be replaced because it is a health and safety risk.

Stronger future for Beach Haven recreational wharf3
A drawing of the upgraded wharf, which shows what the new pontoon will look like.

North Shore ward councillor and chair of the council's Environment and Climate Change Committee chair Richard Hills echoes the excitement of works getting underway.

“The wharf has been an important asset to our community for generations, this crucial upgrade ensures future generations will enjoy it too. It’s great to see this significant regional investment in our community and I thank locals for their patience.”

Mr Gillon says the new wharf complements the recent works, including the repurposing of Frank Larkings playboat on land, and new lookout, furniture, signs, stairs and pathway throughout Hilders Park and Larking’s Landing Reserve.

The recreational wharf will be closed during the works, which are expected to be finished by summer this year. 

The budget for the project is $630,000 which includes construction, consenting and design costs.


The recreational wharf at the end of Beach Haven Road was originally known as Hellyer’s Creek Wharf after it was built in 1887. It was later known as the Birkdale wharf, but since 1946 has been known by its current name of the Beach Haven wharf.

Access to the wharf is from Beach Haven Road, via a wide and well-formed road that provides general access to both the new Beach Haven Commuter Wharf, Beach Haven Wharf and the vehicular access to the beach, via a boat ramp.

The wharf is a recreational facility rather than a commercial one, reinforced with the building of the new commuter wharf in 2013. The wharf is generally used for light activities such as fishing, swimming and minor loading for small recreational vessels and servicing of the nearby swing mooring area.

The current wharf is a timber structure some 40 metres long with a 2-metre-wide trunk that leads to an approximately 4m x 4m head/viewing platform at the outer end. Two loading platforms with stairs run off the southern end of the viewing platform.

The current design of the balustrade is repeated on both sides of the walkway and encloses the wharf with only an opening to allow access down to the loading platforms/landings used for recreational boat users and swimmers.

The wharf was rebuilt in 1937 after a fire, and then completely reconstructed in 2000 including framing, decking and railings. There appears to be no original fabric remaining from the earlier wharf.

The wharf’s heritage values are closely associated with the historic use of this site as there has been continuously a wharf here since 1887. 

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