Healthy Puketāpapa

Note: This is a repost from my facebook page.

Today I thought I’d delve into some of the info from the “Healthy Puketāpapa Strategic Framework” – a 37 page document that is full of really interesting information as well as a quick runthrough of the plan itself.

Healthy Puketāpapa is a guide that sets out to improve the quality of life for our Puketāpapa residents.

It contains some sobering facts about Puketāpapa – 20% of Puketāpapa homes are overcrowded, 41% of our neighborhoods are classed as the ‘most deprived in the country’, our residents make up 10% of ED admissions due to alcohol, despite making up only 4% of the population, 36% of tamariki live in poverty and Puketāpapa gets a score of 37/100 for walkability due to our street network lacking connectivity and a lack of local services within a walkable distance – putting us as one of the ‘lowest’ Local Boards in Tāmaki Makarau.

Some of these issues are beyond a local board’s control. However, the last board saw the importance of building a guide towards creating a healthy Puketāpapa.

As such, the document sets out 5 ‘priority areas’ for health and wellbeing in Puketāpapa and actions the local board can take:

1) Wai (water) is the first and easiest choice of drink.

-Install new water fountains across Puketāpapa.
-Introduce free water bottle refill stations across Puketāpapa.
-Promote water first at all our events and facilities.
-Promote tap water as our first choice of beverage.
-Gather cultural stories of wai (water).
-Instead of promoting sugary drinks marketing, promote water at places where tamariki and whānau meet.
-Reduce plastic straw use in Puketāpapa.
-Connect wai projects to other Healthy Puketāpapa projects.

2)Access to healthy kai for all.
-Encourage early childhood centres, schools and businesses to promote healthy options
-Encourage food recycling and zero waste activities
-Remove junk food marketing near tamariki settings
-Work with partners to promote initiatives to create eco-neighbourhoods
-Promote healthy kai choices in all our organisations, events and facilities

3)Encourage movement.
-Create more greenways and cycleways throughout Puketāpapa.
-Promote and develop public transport in Puketāpapa.
-Ensure all park developments meet community needs.
-Promote the connections between nature, physical activity and mental wellbeing.
-Connect residents to Puketāpapa’s whenua/land and maunga/mountains to build pride and sense of belonging.
-Promote physical activity at activities, events and in all local grants.
-Connect residents to inter-generational opportunities to get moving that cater for our diverse community.

4)Improving access to healthy housing.

-Promote Healthy Homes Standards.
-Support healthy rental homes and higher quality social housing.
-Support actions to create sustainable homes.
-Create social cohesion projects that support communities in new housing areas.
-Engage business partners, housing developers, schools and the community to create community centred housing.
-Get Puketāpapa residents to define what is a healthy home to influence future actions.

5)Less use of unhealthy substances.
-Get Puketāpapa communities to define the issues, priorities and solutions for alcohol, tobacco and drug harm reduction.
-Promote alcohol-free, tobacco-free and drug-free Puketāpapa activities and events.
-Use community advocacy to push for no more bottle stores in Puketāpapa.
-Reduce alcohol sponsorship and advertising in Puketāpapa.
-Introduce Smokefree Puketāpapa town centres and parks.
-Use community engagement and cohesion projects to build inclusion and celebrate diversity.

Granny’s Bay

Granny’s Bay on the outgoing tide

A slightly more interesting name than Taylor’s Bay, yet still relatively uninspiring, Granny’s Bay is a quiet little private beach accessible only via a walkway down from Bagley Street or from the walkway down from Hillsborough Cemetery.

The privacy of this beach is what sets it apart – the beach itself isn’t the nicest, with the gas pipeline running from Whangarei to Wiri to the right-hand side of the beach.

Historically, this was an important spot – old maps have it as a ‘sheep landing’ point and many locals moored their boats here.

New Zealand must be one of the few places in the world that has sheep on its maps.

This painting from the 1850’s is believed to be set at Granny’s Bay judging by the cliff-face behind it, and you could arguably recreate this today. You could hire a kayak from Taylor’s Bay and paddle round to Granny’s, cook up a feed and have a swim. Delightful!

Granny’s Bay Ranking:


Have to be honest, Granny’s Bay isn’t the most beautiful. The “Warning- Pipeline” signs, the accumulated seaweed, the pebbled beach…. its not quite the classic kiwi postcard beach.



Fortunately, Granny’s Bay is one of the tested spots on and is usually clean. Its isolation means people don’t usually go there to dump rubbish. The seaweed buildup can get a big much as the tide goes out – its definitely a high-tide beach.



Whichever way you choose to get here, you will be walking. The ‘quicker’ way is from Bagley Street but the walk through Hillsborough cemetery is more enjoyable.



Not much going on here.


The ‘feel’

If you feel like a private swim, Granny’s is one of the best spots. If you want amenities, cleanliness and beauty, pick somewhere else.


Total score:


Seems a bit ruthless -Granny’s Bay isn’t that bad, but it definitely rates lower than the other beaches. Nice for a dip at high tide, maybe not the best place for a first date.

Taylor’s Bay

Taylor’s Bay, an hour after high tide.

Rather unimaginatively named, Taylor’s Bay is arguably the most accessible and well provided for beach in Puketāpapa. There is plenty of nice white sand, a playground, a nice long grassed area, bushwalks heading over to Granny’s Bay and eventually there will be a boardwalk connecting it up to Taumanu Reserve.

Taylor’s Bay used to be fed by a stream coming down from Belfast Reserve and the street behind it was split into two. In the 20th Century, the stream was covered up and the road connected together – saving drivers a couple of minutes off their journey, but at what cost?

Getting there:

You can catch the 68 bus from Onehunga, 27H from the CBD and get off on Hillsborough Road at the top of Carlton Street. There’s a bit of a walk down, but the 68 route will eventually go down Carlton Street.

If you are driving, you can park on Bluff Terrace.

Taylor’s Bay Ranking:


At high tide, Taylor’s Bay is geeeee-orgeous. White sand, flanked by Pohutukawa trees, views over to Onehunga port. The water is OK – a little bit murky. However, the tide goes out quickly here and you will be knee-deep an hour and a half after high tide, not so nice.



Taylor’s Bay is well looked after. The grass area is kept well, rubbish is picked up quickly and the toilet is usually clean. The water itself can be a bit murky but overall, a fine place for a swim.



Very easy. You can park right beside the beach. Public transport is about a 10 minute walk away too.



A toilet, drinking fountain, playground (including a sand laboratory), swings, and Kayak hire across the road. Great place to come with the whanau.

The ‘sand lab’ in the playground


The ‘feel’

Taylor’s Bay is a good place to come with a group for an afternoon swim and picnic. It lacks some of the privacy of other beaches but the facilities here are arguably the best along the coast.


Total score:


Arguably the best spot for a whanau picnic along the coast. Swimming is pretty good – when the tide is in. If you have young kids or others who cant walk too far, this is probably your best bet.

Nice summer’s afternoon down at Taylor’s Bay

Wattle Bay/Taunahi

Wattle Bay is one of my favourites. Accessible with a 15 minute bush walk from Sylvania Crescent, or down from Cape Horn Rd, there is a large grassed area beside the beach. At high tide, the water is nice and clear and the bay is surrounded by hectares of beautiful native bush, which supports a fantastic range of birds and insects.

Wattle Bay is so-named because the hill behind used to be a Wattle plantation. Yes, a now-pest species was farmed- mostly for firewood. Since these trees are no longer there, maybe we can start to use the Māori name – Taunahi. I’m not 100% sure but the name seems to come from a combination of words to mean “nurse after an attack” – so possibly this was a resting place after a battle. There is archaeological evidence of pre-european Māori occupation – something that will hopefully be investigated further in the future.

This area used to have a number of baches, which were demolished in the 1980’s. This is also the site where Wally Kerschel did his famous beetle study in the 1970s – where he found over 900 types of beetle in a very small area.

But the real highlight of Taunahi/Wattle Bay is an unnamed beach about 5 minutes further along the track, towards Cape Horn. Let’s call it…

Taunahi iti (Little Taunahi)

On the incoming tide

This is a beautiful little beach. Aesthetically, the flaxes and overhanging bush make it a fantastic spot for an afternoon. There is a seat, a tire swing (which looms dangerously over a fallen pine…) and a nice grassed area. This also has more sand than the ‘main’ Wattle Bay. This beach is probably easiest accessed from Cape Horn Rd and walking down the track.

Wattle Bay Ranking:


When you take both beaches into account, Wattle Bay is a beautiful place. The main beach itself is lovely on a high tide, and even on a low tide the walk around the rocks is top notch. “Little Wattle Bay” is what pushes this to such a high ranking, this spot in the evening is world class.



The water is extremely clear on an incoming tide here, due to the tidal nature of the bay. There are two rubbish bins provided, both of which are regularly emptied. I’d like to see the tall grass behind the main bay given a bit of love.



A decent walk to both beaches. Coming down from Sylvania Cres will take around 15 minutes, returning will be a bit longer. The walk from Cape Horn would take about 10 minutes down, but 20 going up – you’ll probably need a few breaks.



2 rubbish bins, a broken seat and a tire swing. Not the greatest. However, the history of the site, and the great Bush walk in, push this score up.


The ‘feel’

I really enjoy Wattle Bay. The native bush, wildlife and undisturbed peace. However, the long walk, lack of facilities and somewhat unkempt grass keeps the score down.


Total score:


Let down by accessibility and amenities, don’t let the score deceive you. Taunahi/Wattle Bay is well worth a trip.

The 9 oases

UPDATE: We are currently installing our first five water fountains! May be an image of outdoors, tree and text that says "THREEKINGS RESERVE WAIKOWHAI PARK WAIRAKI KISTREAM RESERVE MARGARET GRIFFIN RESERVE MONTE CECILIA RESERVE"


It was over four years ago that I started running. A brutally honest doctor weighed me, took some measurements, shook her head and told me “You’re at the age when it gets really hard to lose weight – and you have too much. You need to exercise.”

Like I said, brutally honest.

I tried the gym, but there’s something about being stuck in a room full of people on a machine that completely turns me off. So I thought I’d try running. This was a pretty out there choice at the time, I had a fair few bad habits and was more likely to see 6 am as the ‘end’ of the night then the beginning of the day.

Yet, something stuck. It’s a cliche to talk about ‘the runner’s high,’ and to be honest I’ve probably only felt anything approaching that a couple of times. But there definitely is something to the ability to get up and run for hours, exploring new routes, seeing the seasons change in a way you don’t when just travelling from place to place. You get to know your neighborhood very well.

Now, four years later, I know my area well. And one thing I know – is that we have a distinct lack of water fountains. We have a very oppressive heat here in summer and failure to hydrate properly sucks all the joy out of running. So, you plan your run around water fountains.

So I made a map.

fountain map

You can access the map here:

As you can see, there’s a lot of distance between taps here. All that green stuff in the bottom left corner? That’s the beautiful Waikōwhai coast, with 8km of trails, and not a drop to drink. Sure, there are a lot of public toilets around, and one can drink from the taps (trust me, I definitely have) but for many people the idea won’t wash. So – people buy drinks from shops.

I want to focus on getting more into our rohe (area). A fountain at the shops, returning one to Waikōwhai park, installing another along the SW cyclepath, and getting some into Monte Cecilia.

Check back in three years. Hopefully Wai has become a far ‘easier’ choice for the people of Puketāpapa.