New vision for Parakai Reserve

Media Release: Auckland Council

A plan to revitalise and further develop Auckland’s only geothermal reserve will be released 1 May for public feedback.

The Kaipātiki (Parakai Recreation Reserve) Draft Reserve Management Plan offers a birds-eye view of the vision for the reserve in the heart of Parakai, spanning the next 50 years. It includes a five and ten year development scope with improvements suggested for the next five years comprising native revegetation, an enhanced educational track network, community gardens and high quality temporary holiday accommodation.

Separate to the management plan process, the reserve is undergoing a formal name change to Kaipātiki, being the original Māori name bestowed upon the whenua (land) by local iwi prior to European settlement.

Margaret Kawharu, Chairperson of Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara (formerly the Parakai Recreation Reserve Board), says that after a lot of exploratory work, the Board is excited about the future of Kaipātiki as a much enhanced community and cultural space.

“The reserve is already a hub for community activity with the well-known hot pool complex. Less known but incredibly significant is the rich cultural history of the area. The Draft Reserve Management Plan looks to unlock the potential of the reserve as a destination in the South Kaipara while also restoring the site to its historical and cultural prominence as a place of healing.”

Mana whenua have a long connection with the geothermal springs located on the reserve – they were known far and wide for their natural healing qualities and those returning from battle would go there for rest and recuperation. Following the arrival of Europeans, the site was declared a recreation reserve in 1883 and in the early 1900s bath houses and boarding houses were established. The Crown formally returned the reserve jointly to Ngāti Whātua and Auckland Council in 2013.

“Our vision for Kaipātiki is that it is once again recognised as a destination for everyone to revitalise and re-energise. We believe we can achieve this through an integration of the geothermal resource with enhanced outdoor spaces for walking, cycling, camping and socialising, alongside educational elements. Over the coming years, through new partnerships, we will extend the delivery of recreation activities on the reserve that promote the well-being message,” says Kawharu.

The draft management plan has been informed by ecological, infrastructure and engineering reports as well as insights from community engagement on the Parakai Recreation Reserve Master Plan developed in 2015.

Beside restoration and experiential enhancements, the draft management plan identifies the need to monitor the impacts of sea level rise and climate change on the reserve, to mitigate any risks of inundation from the Kaipara River.

Once operational towards the end of 2017, the Reserve Management Plan will guide all decisions on the future management and development of the reserve while giving mana whenua and local communities clear oversight. It will provide certainty to plan for and seek funding to bring the vision to life in ways that continue to support the local economy and reflect the aspirations and living connections held by Ngāti Whātua and local communities.

Read the draft plan

You can view the Kaipātiki (Parakai Recreation Reserve) Draft Reserve Management Plan and supporting information online at and in hard copy at Auckland Council’s Customer Service Centres at Helensville and Huapai and at Auckland Council’s libraries at Helensville and Kumeu.

Come to the open day

A public open day will be held at Te Whare Oranga ō Parakai next to the reserve on Sunday 28 May 2017 with Board members and the project team available to answer questions. Details will be posted to closer to the time.

Make a submission

Written feedback on the draft plan is welcomed via the on-line feedback form at Submissions must be received by 4.00pm on Friday 16 June 2017.