Auckland Council is currently consulting on plans for the future of the Te Muri Regional Park in addition to the magnificent Mahurangi Regional Park.
Mahurangi holds a special role in the regional parks suite. Its maritime aspect provides access to quiet warm, clear waters away from the hubbub and pollution of Auckland. The lack of boat access in the area means you seldom get the noisy intrusion of jet skis and other motorised disturbance. Because you have to walk or paddle into Te Muri and Mita Bay means that Mahurangi is one of the few places where natural values, peace and quiet, predominate. It’s a simply delightful environment, fit for snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, for quiet walks, empty beaches, phosphorescence and healthy fish populations.
When, as one of its last acts, the Auckland Regional Council bought the additional land of the Schischka block to add to the Mahurangi Regional Park, it was with the idea of sustaining and enhancing these values in mind.
The plan foreshadows roadways, car parking and visitor services development just beyond the currently wild and undeveloped Te Muri beach. There are proposals to investigate concessionaire/commercial based ‘glamping’ (glamour camping).
This will all be enormously costly and threatens the current high natural values of the site, but also of the wider Mahurangi Regional Park and its unique role in the regional parks network. Providing road access to this most precious of settings threatens the very values the park was acquired for.
Beaches and public open space characterised by quiet and a relative absence of traffic are rare in the Auckland region. That’s what makes Mahurangi so special now. Current backcountry camping at the beach will be undermined by traffic and development. It’s also just not necessary for people to drive directly to every single beautiful place. Often the joy of a wilderness experience is in getting there – having to cross a stream by foot, or walk through paddocks to the campsite – and it’s these parts of the experience that make Mahurangi popular now.