50th anniversary emblem

Share Te Muri with walking Aucklanders or

Two thousand of their cars

Cimino 8 February 2016

Event Walk-in open day at Te Muri
Topic Draft management plan variation
Where Te Muri woolshed—west of campground
When 10.30 am2 pm Saturday 20 February Low tide 12.22 pm
Note Allow at least 20 minutes to walk in from terminus of Ngārewa Drive
Click to jump down to make quickfire Te Muri submission…


It’s been timed for low tide that day, at 12.22 pm.

Because, despite the Auckland Regional Authority’s citizens advisory group 29 years ago embracing the concept of developing Te Muri for walking access only, there is still no all-tide access across the estuary from Mahurangi West.


Te Muri concept plan Stark as They Are Simple: Development choices for Te Muri are between road access, after the Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway is constructed, and parking for thousands of cars near the beach, or the Mahurangi Coastal Trail, and every ingenious ploy possible deployed to encourage appropriate use of the 407-hectare Schischka farm as more than just a $20 million driveway to Te Muri Beach.
Map Auckland Council
Some, of course, do not want all-tide access, nor any development that would see one additional person visiting their special place. Others, particularly those who heroically headed off the regional authority’s plans to build a concrete road bridge across Te Muri Estuary and to provide parking for 2000 cars behind the beach, knew that improved walking access was the only long-term alternative to the area being opened up by that much more disruptive option.

Fast-forward to 2010. On the eve of the regional amalgamation, the 407-hectare Schischka farm was the last regional park purchase by the regional council. While proponents of regional parks rejoiced at the acquisition, those who had seen-off the road access plans in 1987 knew, even before reading past the headlines, with $15 million having been invested to take pressure off Wenderholm and Sullivans Bay, Te Muri was not going to be allowed to continue to receive so few visitors that it might as well still be in private ownership. It brought into sharp relief that the only long-term hope for keeping Te Muri car-free was if the long-mooted Mahurangi Coastal Trail was belatedly developed, and that it proved to provide sufficient access to result in the new regional parkland being appreciably used.

So rather than delight at the development, those who understood the implications felt a chill when reading that:

The new park, including access to Te Muri Bay, will now be accessible by Hungry Creek Rd.

In the mainstream media coverage of the purchase, no mention was made of the hard-fought campaign of 1987, much less the potential of a Mahurangi Coastal Trail to provide reasonable access for those willing to invest a little effort to reach ‘Auckland’s New Chums.’

Of the 88 submissions that were made during the first phase of consultation via the Mahurangi Magazine, and in the current, formal phase, and the 77 hardcopy submissions that were made at the Mahurangi Regatta alone, all favour the Mahurangi Coastal Trail concept. Only two of the total of 140 phase-one submissions called for car access. While it might not particularly harm the case against car access to also oppose greater foot access, the experience both 29 years ago and this time around is that council officers and politicians simply categorise such views as nimbyism, particularly with the region’s population projected to increase by one million over the next 30 years. That, and the present lack of any policy or appetite for maintaining the rate of regional park acquisitions achieved during the last 50 years, it is indefensible to do nothing to allow more Aucklanders to enjoy regional parkland purchased for their enjoyment. But, aside from the right of reasonable access to Auckland Regional Parks, walking the coastline is a primeval human instinct, and if New Zealanders had an ounce of respect for the whenua they would be able to traverse the entire coastal margin of their motu unchallenged. Instead, billions are spent on infrastructure for more and more climate-disrupting motor vehicles. At present those able to enjoy Te Muri typically access via car from Mahurangi West, or by petrol-powered boat from Wenderholm and boat ramps farther afield, or by kayak—the latter two modes generally also following a car trip. Public transport and walking, with their myriad, well documented health benefits are at the bottom of the heap. For a fifth of the estimated cost of upgrading Hungry Creek Road and the Schischka farm road, the entire Mahurangi Coastal Trail could be developed, complete with the low-key Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge and opening span, which would allow even the venerable and busty Jane Gifford to venture up the Pūhoi River.


Modern classics start Allowing for the Scow: Lest anyone be concerned that the Mahurangi Coastal Trail’s proposed Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge might impede navigation of the Pūhoi River, it would have an opening span sufficient to easily allow beamy craft such as the Jane Gifford to venture upstream—at least as far as the State Highway 1 road bridge permits her to. Pictured, the Jane Gifford performing her role as the Mahurangi Regatta flagship during the start of the modern classics race, 2016.
Image What You See Photography Jill Guillemin
Those who fancy they can beat into submission the three appointed commissioners whose job it will be to consider the current round of input—with the position that it shouldn’t be made easier for folk to access Te Muri—would do well to reflect that without the community’s proposal for developing Te Muri for walking access only, access for these last 29 years would have been by road bridge across Te Muri Estuary into a 2000-car parking area behind the beach. The walking access was never improved because regional parks management of the day wanted to prove that few people would visit Te Muri without road access. Mahurangi Action, at almost every opportunity, continued to advocate for improved foot access knowing that, without it, the regional council’s preoccupation with road access would never go away—at least, so long as the private car reigns supreme.

Ultimately, it is unconscionable that only the car-owning classes that can access Te Muri. The poor and the deliberately carless should be able to get off the bus at Waiwera and walk as far as they care to into the greater 900-hectare Mahurangi regional park estate. Many regional parks are too far-flung to be accessed, in the near future, by public transport, but Mahurangi, Te Muri and Wenderholm are ripe for connection. Meantime, those who with every justification consider that the wellbeing of Te Muri’s dotterels, oystercatchers and shearwaters should have supremacy over human access should note that Mahurangi Action’s proposed route for the coastal trail avoids the particularly sensitive area—the sandspit—altogether, and would significantly reduce anthropogenic disturbance below that which is currently occurring, as people blithely paddle or wade across the estuary, and file past or through that vulnerable, crucial breeding area.

Something to think about when walking in to Auckland Council’s ‘walk-in open day’ on the draft management plan variation, on Saturday 20 February.


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All, or mostly, about the Mahurangi Coastal Trail

Mahurangi Action Submission on Draft Variation – In Respect to Te Muri
Low resolution PDF: Mahurangi Action Submission on Draft Variation – In Respect to Te Muri
High resolution PDF: Mahurangi Action Submission on Draft Variation – In Respect to Te Muri
Share Te Muri with Walking Aucklanders or Two Thousand of Their Cars
Receiving Support for Sublime Vision of Regatta and Trail Entwined
Reasons to Believe that Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge Will Receive a Fair Shake
Long-Form Formal Te Muri Submission Support for the Mahurangi Coastal Trail
Post-Paris, Regional Parks 50th Anniversary Time to Rethink
New Parks Czar Delivers Best Possible Te Muri Christmas Present
 Disdaining the Input of Community Groups Council Plans to Form its Own
 Until March to Counter Draft Management Plan to Relegate Coastal Trail
 21-Year-Old President Rocks Coastal Trail Dream for Untouched Paradise
 In the New Zealand Herald : Coastal Trail Dream for Untouched Paradise
 In the New Zealand Herald in PDF format: Coastal Trail Dream for Untouched Paradise
 Initial-Feedback Summary Strongly Confirms Support for Coastal Trail as Primary Te Muri Access
 Taking Te Araroa and the Coastal Trail Cross-Harbour Ferry to AGM
 Re-Imagining the Mahurangi Regatta Beyond the Coastal Trail
 Recurring Regional Parks Rear-Guard Action or Help Lead the 50-Year-Plan Charge
 Without Friends 50th Celebrations Might Have Been Requiem for Regional Parks Network
 World Cup Causes Celebrity Fundraiser to be Rescheduled for 15 November
 Mahurangi Action Provisional Te Muri Regional Park Phase 1 Submission
 Views Sought in First Phase of Planning Long-Term Future of Te Muri
 In the Rodney Times : Coastal Trail Could Bridge the Pūhoi River
 Need for a 15 Nov Mahurangi Coastal Trail Celebrity Fundraiser 1-Pager
 Opportunity to Embolden Parks Chief by Bussing in Bridge Supporters
 How Trail Can Help Save a Habitable Planet
 Three Separate vs. One Magnificent Mahurangi Regional Park
 Roll On the Regional Parks Rolling 50th Celebrations
 Invitation to Informal Celebratory Wenderholm Sunrise Breakfast
 Coastal Trail Trustees Sign On and Board Votes to Support
 Second Concrete Step Taken as the Coastal trail Wins Friends
 Next Step on Coastal Trail is Trust and Working Group
 Calendarise Mahurangi Coastal Trail 15 Nov. Celebrity Fundraiser
 Council Investigates Possibility of Mahurangi Coastal Trail
 Coastal Trail Gains its First Concrete Step
 Mahurangi Coastal Trail High-Tide Seaweek Walk
 Low-Tide Walk to Sample Low-Hanging Fruit
 First Draft of Report for Coastal Trail Discussion at Club
 $15‍ ‍Million Te Muri Purchase Lucky Te Araroa Break
 Ten Minutes and Local Board Agrees to Walk
 The Coastal Path and the Ferrymen
 After a Century or More Ferrymen to Work Sunday
 Road Would Ruin Future for Mahurangi Coastal Trail
 Submission Suggests City as Green Growth Capital
 Unique Role for Mahurangi and Public Transport
 Te Muri Acquisition Key to Coastal Trail
 Captain Jones’ Legacy Complete at Te Muri
 Link Waiwera to Mahurangi with Coastal Cycle Trail
Success Again after Three Decades Bleatin’ into Submission

Mahurangi Coastal Trail Technical Document


Part of a hope-based network restoring and enjoying the Mahurangi

I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours
Bob Dylan 1963

Editor Cimino Cole