Six years ago, one of Auckland’s greatest parks achieved something quite remarkable.

It became even greater in size, following the transfer of 19ha of stunning coastal headland into public ownership, as part of a new residential housing development at Long Bay.

Now, the Long Bay Regional Park has the opportunity for a second significant expansion – this time, a new reserve along picturesque Okura Estuary, spanning between 70 and 170 metres wide.

“Long Bay Regional Park is an extremely popular place for people to walk, run and mountain bike, and this expansion would create a unique and significant enhancement at the northern tip,” says Rachel de Lambert, a director of Boffa Miskell and a leading New Zealand landscape architect.

The Long Bay Regional Park is part of Te Araroa – New Zealand’s national walking trail stretching from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The new reserve land would extend this walkway by more than 2km, opening up public access to a picturesque area of coastline that’s been in private ownership for decades.

The land is currently being farmed, with little in the way of vegetation around its streams or along the coastal edge.
If the housing development and park extension went ahead, Ms de Lambert says, it would transform bare pastoral land into a highly-valued ecological reserve, creating new habit for wildlife.

“It’s kind of a new way of design led planning for development, and it’s very much in response to the sensitive qualities of the land. This land is adjacent to a really important estuary, and the development needs to be of a nature that ensures that the character of the area is protected.”

The park development would feature extensive native planting – approximately 8ha of new trees and shrubs along the coast and around streams. The planting would also help to create new wetland areas, further supporting new ecological connections between neighbouring bush and reserve land, and significantly improving the quality of water run-off into the sea. The new reserve would also create cycle ways, walking tracks, nature trails and small parks for the public and residents to enjoy.

Photo 1 - a great park
A view of some of the coastal land at Okura to be transferred from private into public ownership

Photo 2
The new regional park would open up public access to beaches along the estuary