Taumanu Reserve is a destination park situated on the northern side of the Manukau Harbour. The Park was developed as part of a major beach reclamation project carried out between 2014 and 2017.
The project aim was to reconnect Onehunga, which had been separated from the sea by the 1970s development of State Highway 20 (SH20), with its foreshore and recapture the biodiversity and recreational outcomes that had been displaced.
The 9.9 hectare site features beaches, basalt headlands and protected areas where access to people and dogs is restricted in order to provide secluded habitat for birds.
The planning work capitalised on the desires and enthusiasm of the community, who had advocated on the project for over 30 years and the community were represented in the design process through the Onehunga Foreshore Working Group. Underpinning the design was the goal of creating a reserve that gives the impression of having been naturally formed.
334,000 cubic metres of fill, rock, sand and topsoil was used on the reclamation and over 30,000 plants and 350 trees, including Pohutukawa, Cabbage trees, Totara and Kowhai were planted.
Low mounds and bunds help attenuate the motorway noise, so that the focus is on the harbour and surrounding natural foreshore landscape. There are a variety of bird habitats including coastal marshland and plant types that encourage ecological diversity.
Amenities include three sandy swimming beaches, pedestrian and cycle paths, boardwalk and pedestrian bridge connections, an all accessible toilet block, park furniture, interpretive signage, a boat ramp and a car park for vehicles and trailers.
Artworks include a wayfinding pou which allows visitors to navigate Taumanu Reserve from a Maori perspective and there are carved panels on the side of the new pedestrian motorway bridge that celebrate both the nature of the sea at full tide and the mudflats at low tide.
There is an active volunteer group who carry out pest control at Taumanu Reserve and the site has also recently become the home to the Tui Tonga Canoe club, who enjoy easy access to the foreshore for their activities.
Annual events hosted at Taumanu include the Onehunga Festival and a variety of smaller sporting events occur through the year. Swimming at the site is promoted through Auckland Council’s Safe Swim programme which includes water quality monitoring.
Two pedestrian bridges connect Taumanu Reserve with Onehunga Town Centre and the surrounding residential community via Onehunga Bay Reserve, where there are facilities such as a large playground, skate ramp and dog off leash area that complement those found at Taumanu Reserve.
The reserve pathways also link with shared pathways on the Manukau Foreshore going east, heading west alongside SH20 to Pt Chevalier and south over the old harbour bridge to Mangere.
The open space is therefore fully accessible and there for all to enjoy.