Auckland wave pool shares more sustainability details, enters final consenting stage
A community surf park proposed for Auckland has entered the final consenting stage, following lodgement of the project’s resource consent application with the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority. With a significant focus on sustainability, the Auckland Surf Park has been designed to integrate with the Dairy Flat landscape and embody the area’s rural aesthetic.
The heart of the community is a next-generation Wavegarden ‘Cove’ lagoon, offering unique surfing and wellbeing experiences in a controlled environment. The surf park will also feature high-performance sports and leisure facilities, eco-cabins and lodging accommodation, a farm-to-table restaurant, and public outdoor amenities.
Targeting a New Zealand Green Buildings Council Green Star rating, the masterplanned development will also include a solar farm and data centre. In a world-first, developer Aventuur and its partners plan to capture excess heat from the data centre (powered by renewable energy, including on-site generation from the solar farm) to warm the park’s surfing lagoon, year-round.
“We are excited to deliver a world-class surf park for everyone to enjoy – from wave- starved Auckland surfers to local families, community groups, charitable organisations, and visitors to New Zealand,” said All Black legend and project partner, Sir John Kirwan.
The surfing knight and mental health advocate has been working closely with Aventuur to deliver a surf park that is by, and for, Aotearoa.
“Our vision is to create a world-class destination where like-minded people can connect, enhance their wellbeing, share unique experiences, and celebrate the best of Aotearoa culture in an authentic, natural setting,” Kirwan added.
Sir John revealed it had taken three years to secure an appropriate location for the community, with thousands of potential sites canvassed before the location in Dairy Flat was selected.
“The site is perfect. It’s located 30 minutes from the CBD and close to a major motorway, while also possessing a natural character that we can both protect and enhance. Our responsible approach is reflected in the project’s design – including our proposal to regenerate existing streams, and naturescape the property using only endemic local species.”
In May 2023, the project was referred to an expert consenting panel for consideration under the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Act 2020.
The proposal has received widespread support from leading sporting, tourism and community organisations, including Water Safety New Zealand, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, Paralympics New Zealand and Surfing New Zealand.
“As a business, Aventuur’s mission is to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of the communities we inhabit, and surfing is the cornerstone of our approach. By delivering authentic surf therapy programs, we aim to accelerate its adoption and impact,” said Aventuur’s Director of Surf and Sustainability, Adrian “Ace” Buchan.
“As a heritage surf nation, New Zealand has a rich surfing culture which extends to competing on the global stage. The Auckland Surf Park will provide access to consistent, quality waves and high-performance training facilities – including for elite athletes,” added Buchan.
Top Kiwi professional surfers Paige Hareb and Ricardo Christie, along with Olympian aspirants Billy Stairmand and Saffi Vette, have also supported the project.
“Surf parks offer the best high-performance training environments,” said eight-time New Zealand national champion Stairmand, who finished runner-up in the first major international wave pool event, Red Bull Unleashed, in Wales in 2015.
“I’ve surfed the Wavegarden in Melbourne several times, which is the same technology proposed for the Auckland Surf Park, and it’s so good for honing your competitive repertoire. In terms of helping prepare our next wave of Olympian surfers, it’s going to be brilliant, and something I’m really keen to get involved with.”
In 2021 Stairmand competed in the Tokyo Olympics, where surfing made its Games debut, and has provisionally qualified for next year’s Paris Games alongside Gisborne’s Vette, who is the rising face of Kiwi women’s surfing alongside the evergreen Hareb.
“I have surfed a wave pool once before and loved it,” Vette said. “I’m super excited to have access to a pool here in New Zealand. It’s going to be an amazing facility for New Zealand surfing.”
Vette added that many of her rivals on the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series came from countries with access to wave pools, and training in them had provided a competitive advantage.
Creating over 400 jobs during construction and 120 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions once operational, the Auckland Surf Park is expected to contribute over $600m to the Auckland economy over the life of the project.
Proposed to be located at 1350 Dairy Flat Highway, Dairy Flat, the Auckland Surf Park will be accessible from the Auckland CBD within 30 minutes.
Consistent with government requirements, adjacent landowners and occupiers have been contacted regarding the consenting process. Subject to approvals being received from relevant authorities, the surf park is expected to open to the public in Summer 2026/2027.