Pristine Pakiri beach under threat of development

Posted on: 29-02-2016

One of Auckland's last remaining untouched beaches is under threat of development.

A joint venture between a private company and iwi have drawn up plans to turn pristine Pakiri beach into housing, a golf course and a public reserve.

The plans, revealed in the group's submission to the Auckland Unitary Plan, detail how a pine forest south of Te Arai Pt, on the coast north of Leigh, would be repurposed for both "public and private benefit".

The 754ha coastal forestry block is owned by Ngati Manuhiri, who purchased the land in 2012 as part of its treaty settlement.

It sits at the end of 14km Pakiri Beach, a secluded spot an hour north of Auckland, popular for swimming, horse-riding and surf-casting. It is just south of another long-contested area -- Te Arai north -- where Queenstown developer John Darby planned a 1400-home development in 2005.

Because of ecological pressures -- the coast is home to the endangered fairy tern -- the number of houses was later reduced to 46. A golf course, which was also opposed, also went ahead.

Ngati Manuhiri chief executive Mook Hohneck told Mahurangi Matters the iwi was at an early stage in developing a plan for the Te Arai south land.

"We are not going to build a big 800-lot housing development, but we are going to utilise the land for our benefit because that's what we bought it for," Mr Hohneck said.

We are looking at all areas that will commercially help the tribe. We are just following the laws and processes to establish what we can do on the land. We shouldn't be treated any differently to any other private enterprise trying to develop their property.

He said it had to go through the Unitary Plan process, and then would present plans to the public. The iwi would not deny the public walking access.

The list of activities mentioned in the plan submission was extensive, including residential sub-division, sand extraction, and recreational activities including campgrounds, motor sport areas, equestrian and mountain biking.

It also outlined the joint venture's intent to start conservation projects, such as wetland and dune stabilisation.

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