Jade River: A History of the MahurangiRonald H Locker
First published 2001. Published online 2014–. This online edition is a work in progress…
Pages 369–370in printed edition
Mahurangi Harbour’s scenic ridge roads
Of the many scenic byroads in Kaipara ki Mahurangias published 2001: Rodney, the two most important are those that wind along the ridge tops to give access to Mahurangi West and Mahurangi Peninsulaas published 2001: East. They have assumed new significance as entries to the regional park. The most used, as the nearest access from the city, and the most at risk, is the Mahurangi West Road, including Ngārewa Drive. If I seem to give it undue attention it is because I know it well and see it as the prime example of threats that apply to other places in the area as well.
It has always been a very special road that marked the transition, in four miles from the busy highway north to the peace and out-of-this-world beauty of the estuaries. For years a muddy track, it kept at bay the motorised-pleasure-seekers of the city, so saving the Mahurangi Heads for aas published 2001: Heads a for future regional park. Now it is destined to serve as the principal gateway to that park. It is the strip of land that residents see most often, it affords the first impression for visitors.
Rising quickly to the highest ridge, it begins to unfold magnificent panoramas of the Hauraki Gulfas published 2001: Gulf: from Whangaparāoa to Moehau and Little Barrier. Looking northward, the eye is mystified by the apparent complexity of the estuarine waterways; beyond, the Dome ridge and Tamahunga rise as a green wall. This road is a scenic asset in its own right. It is as important as the regional park it serves and should have about six lay-bys where visitors could safely drink in the scene. These would serve also to emphasise the values of the road.
Instead, it is going into terminal decline. Each year a few more houses spring up along the road or on leading ridges. Rural quality is vanishing fast. I do not know by what devices each of these house sites has ceased to be farmland, but I know for certain that collectively they represent a perversion of the intent of planning. Within twenty years, at present trends, the most scenic road in all Mahurangi will have no more rural quality than Whangaparāoa Road. In the Mahurangi, surely the aim should be to preserve the rural-marine beauty, seeing it as a whole with the regional parklandas published 2001: regional land.