Those left in Auckland over summer will soon have another inner-city beach option to choose from.
The Onehunga foreshore is set to open on Saturday morning after years of work on the $30 million development.
The new site will span 6.8 hectares of parkland between State Highway 20 and the Manukau Harbour. It will include new beaches, a boat ramp, a turning bay and a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking the foreshore to Onehunga Bay Reserve.
Chairperson of the Maungakiekie-Tamaki local board Simon Randall says the project has involved decades of input from residents of Onehunga, and a three-year construction programme.
"This will become a popular walking and cycling route, just a stroll from Onehunga shops to the lagoon and reserve, and then a short walk across the new over bridge to the large beachside park and tracks," he says.
The reserve will be opened by the local board, Auckland Mayor Len Brown and the New Zealand Transport Agency at 11am with a ceremony from Mana Whenua.
Mana Whenua, who have had an ongoing interest in the governance and management of the park, will reveal a new name for the foreshore, and Māori artworks such as carving and bridge panelling.
Local board member Brett Clark says the Onehunga Foreshore Working Group, including representatives of the Onehunga Enhancement Society, have been strong supporters of the project, along with almost 1000 supporting submissions received for the original resource consents application.
"The project successfully reconnects Onehunga to the sea, and recaptures the biodiversity and recreational opportunities that were displaced when the motorway was built across Onehunga Bay in the 1970s," he says.
The Onehunga Bay Festival will be held in March next year in a new festival lawn adjacent to the Onehunga Lagoon.
Onehunga Bay was a key area for Māori gardening, fishing and occupation in the early 19th century. In the 1840s the beach was a significant trading port between tribes around the Manukau.
It then became a trading centre for the timber, power, gas, water and telecommunications lines, before the construction of State Highway 20 in 1975.