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Local Groups & Clubs

What needs to happen for Mercury Bay Boating Club

I would like to provide readers an update regarding the relocation of the Boating Club to Dundas Street.
 |  Simon Rawlinson  | 

Two huge semi-trailers put the boating club up on stilts late January 2023.

Contrary to claims, this is not a case of the club being blocked by Council or Iwi or Regional Council at Buffalo Beach. They have all been nothing but supportive and willing to engage.

There are however larger factors at play, including heritage and environmental issues which are outside our control.

On top of that, the club would be faced with reinstatement in what is a vulnerable area with no recourse to further building insurance.

As it stands, the club is simply doing what it promised it would when permission to build at Buffalo Beach was given – that is to relocate the building if circumstances required.

In contrast, the DoC reserve provides an excellent alternative. It offers direct access to the harbour and marina for our keel boat fleet.

The club is proposing to install a separate dinghy ramp between the proposed clubhouse site midway along the Dundas Street reclamation to access to shallow water up-river alongside Albert Street for junior sailing nowhere near the moored boats, and channel. Sea Scouts used that area for years.

And sailing clubs all around the country operate in tidal harbours much busier and less sheltered than here. Yes, we have been lucky with direct access to the sea. But it’s still there, is still accessible, club racing, regattas and events will continue to be held out in the Bay.

Keelboats and their larger crews form a significant part of our membership and race on some 30 days a year. The boats are located in the marina, the secure trailer compound and on moorings in the harbour, all adjacent to the proposed site.

It is felt that having the boating club close to the fleet will increase involvement and there would not be a marina in the country that does not have a boating club on or near it.

However, it must be noted that when the keelboats are sailing, their cars and trailers are already parked in the area so there will be no increased demand on parking.

We will work with Council and DoC to improve the overall amenity of the area. The area about the clubhouse will be available for hire to the public and community groups as it has been at the existing site.

The Club desperately needs a base though – and Dundas Street may well be our last shot. Twelve months ago, the Club was scrambling to save the building from the sea and the community rallied around in a fantastic show of support. The Club needs that support again now.

So please, keep an open mind. Change is never easy, but the Club has been a big part of the Mercury Bay Community for a long time now with a rich history including being the first New Zealand club to challenge for the America’s Cup in 1988. Before that we operated out of a Zephyr. This is about a group that belongs to the community and it requires now generous consideration to be part of the Whitianga harbour and its life.

Public submissions are now open on the Department of Conservation website If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me directly on 021 154 4941 or the Committee by email on