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This month I've been thinking about Takapuna Beach, about how special it is. It has to be one of the best urban beaches in the world.
We are lucky enough to have a good old Kiwi bach at a relatively secluded location in the north and we quite often head up there for some R and R. But I am not sure that it beats Takapuna for the beach and what the immediate harbour waters offer. To me Takapuna Beach is very special, despite being only minutes from downtown Auckland.
From Takapuna you can launch your boat very easily at the ramp and within minutes you can be catching good sized snapper. It's just not quite as easy up north. We are spoilt here in that we have some of the best fishing spots right on our doorstep. I quite often watch people launch their kayaks or dinghy's off the beach and come back with their catch in no time. Where else in the world can you do that?
We are also dog walkers. What a great start to the day it is walking along our beautiful beach as the sunrise comes up over Rangitoto, chatting with others along the way and then finishing off with a coffee at The Beach Cafe, Francs, Jam or Melba. Paradise!
For me personally, some of the best days at Takapuna Beach are when it is pumping with people enjoying themselves. Late in February the beach played host to the Takapuna Beach Cup, the annual Waka-ama event that brings people from all over New Zealand, and further afield. I am sure the event might annoy one or two other locals, but I love it. Loads of new people come in to the area for the weekend and Takapuna comes alive.
The same happens when Takapuna Boating Club hosts international yachting events and it is a bustling place every week during the summer for the Beach Series on Tuesday evenings.
It is no secret that I am a fan of improving facilities so we are better equipped to handle these events and the increased usage of the beach that will come with growth. While this needs to be planned well, we must be bold and realistic in setting a sound platform for the beach's future. The move afoot to link the main street to the beach is a must. It has started with the new 'Main Beach' hospitality complex and the building of the aspirational playground on Gould Reserve will also be huge for the area.
But we can't stop there. We must have the facilties for water sports that are needed. That is why I am keen on the northern reserve becoming a public reserve with facilities for yachting, paddling, Waka-ama etc. We must also address the problem of storm water run-off on to the beach and put a beach grooming program in place. Virtually all these type of beaches around the world do beach grooming, including – I am told – beaches on Tamaki Drive over the other side.
Excuse the pun... but we must not put our heads in the sand and believe that stopping progress is the answer. It isn't. We must take action for the future to ensure our beach remains one of Auckland's gems.
Channel Magazine: Issuu 52 March 2015