New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery program may fast track Auckland Surf Park

The company behind a world-class surf park in Perth, Western Australia has announced it is a step closer to delivering a considered, sustainable surf park community in New Zealand.

Aventuur has received confirmation that its proposal for a site in the north of Auckland has been referred to an expert consenting panel for consideration under the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Act of 2020.

At the heart of the community will be a 2.2-hectare Wavegarden ‘Cove’ surfing lagoon. Designed to reflect the area’s rural aspect, the project will also feature high-performance sports facilities, eco-cabins and lodging accommodations, community amenities and restaurants.

The Auckland Surf Park will have a significant focus on sustainability, with the project targeting a New Zealand Green Buildings Council Green Star rating.

By incorporating complementary infrastructure within a single masterplanned site, Aventuur aims to create a sustainable ecosystem of land uses, including a data centre and solar farm.

Sir John Kirwan and Adrian Buchan are both promoting the surf park near Auckland.

In a world-first, Aventuur is seeking to capture the heat generated by the data center to warm the water of the park’s surfing lagoon. The 7-hectare solar farm is intended to provide renewable energy for the data center.

Other sustainability initiatives include intending to utilize ‘zero embedded carbon’ concrete for structures, harvesting rainwater from the park’s roofs, composting organic waste on-site, eliminating single-use plastics, and procuring local materials and products wherever possible.

Former All Black star, mental health advocate and lifelong surfer Sir John Kirwan is working with Aventuur to deliver a surf park that is by, and for, Aotearoa. Sir John was delighted with the Minister for the Environment’s decision to refer the project.

“This is a big step for the Auckland Surf Park, and we look forward to working with the relevant authorities with the hope of securing full consent by the end of this year,” said Sir John. “This will be a tremendous boost for Auckland and Aotearoa in terms of community, sporting, tourism and economic benefits.”

Kirwan said that while he’d surfed at Wavegarden’s facilities in Melbourne and Switzerland, he believed Auckland would set new benchmarks for surf park design, experiences, and sustainability.

“Our goal is to deliver a truly unique surf park that is reflective of Aotearoa culture and contributes significantly to both individual health and community wellbeing. We’re planning to be very responsible in how we design, build and naturescape the site, including regenerating an existing stream on the property, and ensuring the community maintains its rural aesthetic,” said Sir John.

Nikki van Dijk digs into one of many Wavegarden Cove barrel settings.

Renata Blair, the Auckland Surf Park’s cultural advisor, confirmed the company’s commitment to protecting and regenerating the project site. “We consider ourselves to be the kaitiaki of the land, and recent weather events in Auckland illustrate the importance of considered planning and future proofing,” Blair noted.

Aventuur’s commitment to delivering net positive social and environmental outcomes was reiterated by the company’s Director of Surf and Sustainability, former World Surf League Championship Tour athlete Adrian “Ace” Buchan.

“We believe it’s our responsibility to display leadership and innovation and have a positive impact on the planet and in our local communities. This is something shared by JK and our New Zealand partners,” said Buchan. “We’re thankful for the support we’ve received from local surfers and stakeholders on our journey to deliver the Auckland Surf Park, and we’re committed to creating a natural, authentic and inclusive destination for everyone to enjoy.”

Buchan said the project had received strong backing from key sporting and recreation organisations including Water Safety NZ, Paralympics NZ, Surf Life Saving NZ and Surfing NZ, along with New Zealand’s top-ranked professional surfer and aspiring 2024 Olympian Paige Hareb.

“Surf parks are amazing,” said Hareb. “I’ve surfed at the WSL Surf Ranch in California and the Melbourne Wavegarden, which enables you to progress your ability, refine your skills and have fun in the process. A surf park in Auckland will provide a world-class training facility for New Zealand’s surfing athletes, conveniently located just a short drive from the Auckland CBD.”

Aventuur’s Perth Surf Park (located in Cockburn, Western Australia) recently received development approval, and construction of the project is expected to commence in late 2023. The company is progressing with other projects in the APAC and North American regions.

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