Iconic ocean swim event enjoys support from local businesses

A dozen local businesses donated prizes for the the annual Cheltenham Swim, an annual fixture in the calendar of ocean swimmers across the peninsula and from outside Auckland.

The 2.1km swim is run by the Devonport Swim Club which operates from the navy pool at HMNZS Philomel on Queen’s Parade.

Around 150 swimmers set off on the starter horn at 9.30 am on Saturday morning, 5th May, from Narrow Neck beach. Aided by the current, the quickest swimmers were out of the water and bounding up Balmain Reserve on Cheltenham Beach in less than 22 minutes.

The annual Cheltenham Swim and the Round North Head Classic swim, held in November, have established a reputation over the years as being very well organised, and particularly friendly events, with little of the aggressive jostling often seen at larger ocean swim meets. This is also to do with the mix of entrants, which include many local swimmers out to enjoy a scenic swim around the coast.

Sponsors this year included Baked Devonport, Vondel restaurant, Skin Sense, Makoto Japanese restaurant, Cosi fan tutte, The Vic Cinema , 2 degrees mobile, Glengarry Wine, Just Workout Devonport, Riba Fish n Chips, Corelli’s Café, the gift shop Nord and Devonport Hammer Hardware, who also put on a mobile warm shower.

Devonport Swim Club had been running at half steam for the past two years while the navy pool had a complete upgrade and the steep bank directly behind it secured.

Regular swim squads have only been able to run sporadically over the period as the club has had to rent lanes from Takapuna Primary School and Takapuna Grammar School. Unfortunately, the TGS pool is only swimmable in February and March as it is unheated and exposed to winds.

However with the navy pool recently open again, swim squads have filled up quickly. The junior squads were at capacity within a week of the club’s relaunch.

Lake Road Consultation: Update from AT

A public feedback report for Lake Road Improvements has been collated by Auckland Transport (AT). The Lake Road Improvements Feedback Report can be downloaded here.

In total, AT received 1,131 submissions.


After careful consideration of feedback and project constraints, AT’s preferred option is for developing the medium investment approach further in the next phase, the Detailed Business Case (DBC). This phase will involve developing specific design proposals and more detailed costs and benefits.

The proposals will most likely include:

• targeting specific locations for road widening, within budgetary and spatial constraints, recognising that a major road widening project is unlikely to be cost effective but targeted widening may be necessary

• conversion of the existing bus lane along Esmonde Road to a transit lane to the ramp signals, as part of an existing investigation with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)

• targeted use of transit lanes along Lake Road (likely between Roberts Avenue and Napier Avenue)

• continuous cycle facilities (physically separated if possible) along Lake Road (between Seabreeze Road and Hurstmere Road), connecting to a supporting local network being investigated by AT’s Cycling team

• physically separated cycle facilities along Bayswater Avenue (between Lake Road and the ferry terminal)

• technology to assist with real time journey information (e.g. real time journey planner apps and websites, traffic advisory apps, public transport tracking app) and investigating roadside variable message signs

• improved bus/ferry integration and roll out of the New Network for the North Shore

• continued delivery of Travel Plan programmes with local schools and key organisations, in particular the Navy

• intersection improvements.

***Next steps***

Specific suggestions gathered from the public feedback will be further considered in the DBC phase. Please see the ‘Detailed suggestions from feedback’ section of this report for more detailed responses to themes and suggestions. AT will consult further with the community once specific design proposals have been developed.

AT expect to start the DBC in early in the New Year.

If you missed Glow@ArtWeek in Devonport, watch it here

Glow@Artweek Devonport, Auckland 2017
Devonport was treated to an exhibition of fabulous people-friendly light sculptures on October 13th and 14th, 2017.

The second year Unitec Bachelor of Architecture Studies students designed and prefabricated light pavilions in and around Windsor Park, Devonport Auckland, creating a light filled weekend. After a successful four years of designing, building and installing with zero budget and zero waste in Christchurch, in conjunction with FESTA (Festival of Transitional Architecture), the students are looking forward to designing for the third year running in their home town again and building on the success of Artweek Auckland 2016.

2017 Teams
Archisail, Cloud9, Enkindle, Embrace, Liquid Light, Plastic Ocean, Screenshot, Spectacle, Star Track, Willow & YTM

Disappearing Gun Makes A Rare Live Appearance

The huge ‘Disappearing Gun’ on Devonport’s Maunganuika North Head reserve was fired on Monday 3rd July, in a very rare event. The firing of the gun was being filmed for the documentary series Heritage Rescue on ChoiceTV.

The British Armstrong 8 Inch Mark VII cannon was was put in place on top of North Head in the late 1800s in anticipation of a possible Russian navy attack.

The “disappearing gun” nickname was so given because the battery gun is designed to retract into the ground after firing in an attempt to conceal its location.

The North Head cannon has only ever been fired a few times – firstly during testing following its original installation, then once or twice for ceremonial occasions in the 20th Century, and most recently in 2011 when the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup.

Series presenter and researcher Brigid Gallagher pressed the detonator, which funnily enough has seen more action than the gun itself, having been used in the original Suez Canal project.

Though the blast was loud enough, with those spectators without ear muffs holding their fingers to their ears, it only used 10 per cent of the black powder used in 1915, when the exact same model gun that sits on nearby Mt Victoria shattered windows in a ceremonial firing.

Help Protect Our Birds and Collect Your Free Rat Trap

To help us protect our native bird species, free rat traps are being given out for free by Auckland Council to Devonport residents.

1500 rat traps have been kindly donated by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei who are advocates of the Predator Free 2050 initiative and committed to protecting New Zealand’s native bird species and want to see their populations increase.

We all know how special the Devonport Peninsula is – a vibrant seaside community known for its picturesque tātahi (beaches), stunning manga (mountains) and thriving shore, land and migratory birds.

As part of the North-West Wildlink, it is a vital corridor for native birds as they fly from the Waitakere Ranges to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf and back. These habitats act as stepping stones where wildlife can travel and breed safely between the conservation sanctuary of the islands and the ranges.

But introduced predators, including rats, are taking a toll on New Zealand’s native birds. Predator Free NZ estimates 81 per cent of local bird species are endangered.

Starting in July, you will be able to collect your free rat trap from the library between 11am and 1pm on

Saturday 1st July
Saturday 8th July
Saturday 15th July
Saturday 26th August
Saturday 2nd September
Saturday 9th September

You should have received a form in your letterbox from Auckland Council with a unique serial number. If you have not received this form or cannot make any of the above dates, please email enquiries@norats.org to find out how you can collect your free rat trap.

Have your say on Lake Road

Auckland Transport (AT) is seeking feedback from locals on how to improve reliability and efficiency of travel along Lake Road, between Devonport and Takapuna.

After years of voicing concerns about the state of traffic on Lake Road, mainly during peak times on weekdays but also on the weekend, AT are reaching out to the community to understand what our preferences are.
They are hoping to elicit thoughts and suggestions on a possible solution to the unpredictability of traffic conditions and identify the best way to improve the reliability and accessibility of travel choices to and from the peninsula.

What is Auckland Transport proposing?

AT has found that many vehicle trips down Lake Road are short and local. Their view is that these local trips shouldn’t be made by car, but by ‘walking, cycling or taking the bus’, which would free up Lake Road.

Their approach is to bring in a mix of new transit lanes that would be dedicated to public transport and higher occupancy vehicles, plus expanded walking & cycling facilities and ‘technology solutions’.

They are also proposing that the Esmonde Road bus lane be converted into a new transit lane for public transport and higher occupancy vehicles. The council are saying that this will be supplemented by better ferry and bus services. Technology would be introduced to give travellers more up-to-the-minute traffic information before starting their journey, via smartphone apps and electronic road signs.

They are also thinking about getting rid of all Lake Road street parking.

AT’s proposed options
AT have come up with three alternative plans, each with differing levels of investment and importantly, very different timelines.

The common elements of the plans

All three plans will include these measures:
– New transit lanes (for higher occupancy vehicles and public transport). The Esmonde Road bus Lane will change into to a transit (carpool ?) lane
– More ‘walking and cycling facilities’.
– Improved bus and ferry services
– Greater use of technology, i.e. smartphone apps showing traffic conditions & rideshare opportunities plus electronic roadside signs with traffic info.

which as we understand would be implemented in the relative short term (within 5 years).

The three plans

1. ‘Low’ Investment Level – about $10m
What do we get (in addition to the common elements)?
“Re-marking the road within the existing kerbs to create new segments of transit lanes, whilst retaining the existing cycle lanes.”
How long will this take?
Within 5 years

2. ‘Medium’ Investment Level – between $30 million to $40 million
What do we get (in addition to the common elements)?
“Shifting some kerb lines to create width for extended sections of transit lanes and cycle lanes along Lake Road.”
So certain parts of the footpath will be narrowed and turned into cycle lanes or, perhaps in the odd stretch where the footpath is really wide, into a transit lane. – Ed

How long will this take?
5 to 10 years

3. ‘High’ Investment Level – about $10m
What do we get (in addition to the common elements)?
“Widening Lake Road beyond the current property boundaries to achieve room for all transport modes.”
How long will this take?
Over 10 years

Auckland Transport Lake Road Options

When is the public consultation period?
AT’s consultation period will be open from Saturday 10 June, running until Saturday 8 July. AT will also be at Takapuna Market 18 June from 8am to 12pm.

Are you concerned that AT are seriously considering spending as little as $10m on Lake Road improvements – the cost of 3 or 4 local homes, or perhaps a better comparison, less than 1 per cent of the cost of the Waterview tunnel?

Have your say by giving AT your feedback. Visit the AT Lake Road Improvements website and/or
download the Lake Road Indicative Business Case here and give your feedback (up till Saturday, 8th July 2017) to AT here.

Fullers to put on additional Devonport – Auckland ferry sailings

Local Auckland Councillor Chris Darby recently had a constructive meeting with Fullers’ CEO Douglas Hudson and COO Gavin Old. Fullers are adding new sailings to the Devonport ferry service starting Monday 1st May and improved bike storage is being fitted to both the Kea and the Capricornian.

The existing bike storage on the Capricornian was inherited and Fullers now realise it does not work.

Fullers has advised AT that the Stanley Bay service does not work for them commercially and recommended it be added to the open tender process. What that means is the Stanley Bay service will be open to other operators to tender for along with all other inner harbour services, other than Devonport which is contract exempt. That process is now in the tender evaluation stage and AT should be in a position to announce results in about July this year for implementation in July 2018. The lead-in time is required for operators to procure vessels.

Said Chris, “It’s been a rocky ride with Fullers for a fair while but thanks are due for their responsiveness on these matters”.

From 1st May 2017, there’ll be additional weekday sailings added to the Devonport timetable.

The additional weekday sailings are:
Auckland to Devonport – 8.30am, 4.15pm & 4.45pm
Devonport to Auckland – 8.45am, 4.30pm & 5.00pm

Editor’s note: we’re looking forward to seeing the ferries come this regularly ……

Cycle Lanes Planned for Victoria Road / Calliope Road Intersection

Auckland Transport have announced plans for new cycle lanes to be introduced at the intersection of Victoria Road and Calliope Road in Devonport.

The crossroads have been the site of eight serious accidents over the past five years including one involving a cyclist.

A presentation prepared by Auckland Transport states that one of its aims is to enable the local community to walk and cycle safely to and from the Devonport Town Centre and Ferry Terminal. It says that facilities currently in place does not adequately fulfil this community need.

The specific problems include no on-road cycle lane, off-road cycle path has obstacles including a tree pit and poles; plus it is a confusing intersection layout.

AT also believe that traffic is not slowing down for pedestrians on the Victoria Road crossing.

Update: 27 April 2017. AT have released another revised plan you can download here. Have your say about it on the council website here.

Victoria Rd - Calliope Road as it is currently

Victoria Rd – Calliope Road as it is currently

Amazing hidden bay in Devonport open to public

A stunning hidden bay in Stanley Point, Devonport is now officially accessible to the public.

Access to the largely unknown Secret Cove has up till now been practically restricted to owners of the surrounding land at 60a Stanley Point Road.

Secret Cove, Devonport

Secret Cove, Stanley Point, Devonport

Secret Cove, 60a Stanley Point Road

The accessway to the cove was originally bought by 16 now-deceased people in the 1940s, with the aim of protecting access to the beach for the public.

Those people never sold the land, but several years ago an immediate neighbour lodged a caveat on the title.

Chris Darby, the North Shore Councillor, says that the purchase of the property is a fantastic result for Aucklanders.

“The purchase of this land to enable public access to Secret Cove has been a long and complicated one, but it’s finally done now and I couldn’t be happier,” he says.

“The newly acquired land delivers a public access point to a stunning hidden bay, and means the secret of Secret Cove can now be experienced and enjoyed by all.”

“Imagine swimming under the umbrella of Pōhutukawa trees on a full tide on a late summer afternoon, cicadas singing with the sun setting behind the Harbour Bridge – it’s magical.”